Books  Animal & General Biology  Microbiology 

Microbes and Man

Highly accessible account, full of examples of the importance of microbes in our everyday lives
Extensively updated to include such topical issues as CJD, genetic manipulation and gene therapy
A popular account for the lay-reader and an established introduction for those intending to study microbiology

By: John Postgate

384 pages, 39 b/w photos, 32 illustrations

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Feb 2000 | Edition: 4 | #100813 | ISBN: 0521665795
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £30.99 $38/€35 approx

About this book

Microbes are everywhere. Normally invisible, they are abundant in the air we breathe, in soil, in water, on our skin and hair, in our mouths and intestines, on and in the food we eat. They make the soil fertile; they clean up the environment; they change, often improve, our food; some protect us from less desirable microbes. Yet most people are scarcely aware that they exist – except when they become ill. Microbes, as 'germs', are widely regarded as nasty, unpopular because a few can cause disease and a few can spoil food. Yet collectively microbes present a fascinating world of miniscule creatures, who together encompass all the processes of which terrestrial life is capable: creatures who have profound effects on our lives and surroundings. In this up-dated edition, the extraordinary impact which the microbial community has on our everyday lives is described in an accessible and easy to read style.

Please note that the publisher has cancelled plans for a hardback version of the 4th edition.

"Microbes and Man is certainly a classic of English literature as well as microbiology. Buy it or give it as a present."
– Meriel Jones, Microbiology Today

" [...] well written throughout with a clear lucid style [...] I think this book deserves a place on most bookshelves. All undergraduates would benefit from an understanding of how micro-organisms are critical to man in modern society [...] the book is a pleasure to dip in to when you have a few spare minutes."
– SFAM News

From a previous edition:

"[...] a beautifully written introduction to microbiology [...] Throughout the last decade this book has been one of my favourites. It is a classic, and such splendid material for sixthformers. The non-scientists understand it; the scientists get ideas from it. If there isn't a copy in your school library, don't let another day pass without getting one."
The Biologist

"In a word this book is a classic."
New Scientist

"[...] an excellent read for the uninitiated and professional alike."
SGM Quarterly

"This book is highly enjoyable, as it is readable, thought-provoking and at times quietly amusing."
Educational Media



1. Man and microbes
2. Microbiology
3. Microbes in society
4. Interlude: how to handle microbes
5. Microbes in nutrition
6. Microbes in production
7. Deterioration, decay and pollution
8. Disposal and cleaning-up
9. Second interlude: microbiologists and Man
10. Microbes in evolution
11. Microbes in the future

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