Cowan and Steel's Manual has for many years had an essential role in every laboratory of microbiology and bacteriology. This substantially revised new edition, which is modelled on the successful pattern established in the previous two editions, has been fully updated and is suitable for all bacteriological laboratories using traditional diagnostic methods. It is essentially a practical manual with up-to-date contributions and key references by experts to the diagnostic characteristics of the bacteria likely to be encountered in public health and hospital microbiology laboratories, as well as in medical and veterinary practice. This edition contains new sections on rapid and mechanised test methods, and on the laboratory applications of computer theory and practice to the identification of bacteria. As in previous editions, the importance of laboratory quality control and proficiency procedures are emphasised. The Appendices give details of the laboratory methods and media for all the recommended diagnostic tests and, in addition, provide abstracts of the official guidelines for bacterial nomenclature.