The Actinomycetes; Vol. 1. Nature, occurrence and activities.

Waksman, S.A. (1959) The Actinomycetes; Vol. 1. Nature, occurrence and activities. The Williams & Wilkins Company, Baltimore.

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In his earliest studies on the actinomycetes Professor Waksman decided that there were grounds for differentiating them from both fungi and bacteria and it is on the basis of half a century of investigation by himself and many others that he has compiled this treatise upon them, the first volume of which is before us. Interest in the group has increased notably in recent years on account of their capacity to produce biologically active substances such as antibiotics, vitamins and enzymes; over 500 different antibiotics, we are told, have been isolated from them, some 25 of which have already found practical application as therapeutic agents. Early investigations, starting with those of Cohn in 1875, and the confusion that surrounded them, are outlined. This confusion is referred to again in the chapter on classification, much of it arising from uncertainty as to whether to classify these organisms as fungi or as bacteria. Relationships with the bacteria are found to be the closest, in respect of most morphological, cytological and biochemical features, though certain resemblances to the fungi are nevertheless pointed out. Details are given of their characteristic morphology, cytology and life cycles and in a chapter devoted to variations, mutations and adaptations the various causes of the extreme variability of this group of organisms are analysed and the main types of variation described; the existence of physiological races differing in pathogenicity or in antibiotic production has further complicated the issue of what constitutes a species. Mutants induced by irradiation include strains with increased capacity for producing antibiotics. A number of cases of acquired resistance to antibiotics and to phage attack, of genetic recombination and of heterocaryosis are cited. Further chapters are devoted to physiology, mineral metabolism, biochemical activities, production of antibiotics and causation of animal and plant diseases. Chief among the latter are the scabs of potato, sugar beet and mangel, all apparently caused by what is at present known as Streptomyces scabies.

Item Type: Book
Subjects: Plant Protection
Soil Science and Microbiology > Microbiology
Divisions: General
Depositing User: Mr Balakrishna Garadasu
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2013 05:25
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2013 05:25

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