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Microbiology, Fifth Edition
Microbiology, 5/e
Lansing M Prescott, Augustana College
Donald A Klein, Colorado State University
John P Harley, Eastern Kentucky University

Interactive Time Line

Before microbial life was known 1500 - 1850

Discovering the microbial world 1850 - present

Age of molecular genetics 1941- present

Before microbial life was known 1500- 1850

Italian physician Girolamo Fracastoro suggests that invisible organisms may cause disease (1546).



Robert Hooke publishes his discovery of cells in cork (1665)

Antony van Leeuwenhoek observes bacteria and protozoa using his homemade microscope (1676) Glimpse of History 1


First Thanksgiving, at Plymouth (1621)


Newton's physics forms the foundation of modern science (1687)

Mary Wortley Montagu introduced the smallpox vaccination to England from Turkey (1717)


Spallanzani helped dispute the theory of spontaneous generation (1767).

Edward Jenner introduces a vaccination procedure for smallpox (1796).
( Glimpse of History 17 )


Jethro Tull's mechanical (seed) sower permits large-scale planting in rows (1708).


Priestley isolates oxygen (1774).

U.S. Declaration of Independence signed (1776).

Delegates to the federal convention draft and sign the Constitution of the United States (1787)

States ratify Bill of Rights (1791)

Mathias Schleiden and Theodor Schwann independently propose that all organisms are composed of cells, the basic unit of life 1838-1839.


J. Henle presents a clear exposition of the germ theory of disease (1840).


Thomas Jefferson is elected president (1800)

Louisiana Purchase expands U.S. territory west of the Mississippi River (1803)

Von Liebig discovers chloroform; Faraday discovers electro-magnetic current, making possible generators and electric engines (1831).

Darwin wrote an unpublished essay on natural selection (1844).

Discovering the microbial world 1850 - present

Ignaz Semelweis demonstrates that puerperal or childbed fever is a contagious disease transmitted by physicians to their patients during childbirth (1847-1850).
( Glimpse of History 20 )




Heinrich Anton deBary noted that plant disease is caused by bacteria (1853)

John Snow demonstrates the epidemic spread of cholera through a water supply contaminated with human sewage (1853-54).
( Glimpse of History 24 )


Levi Strauss' "bibless overalls" introduced in San Francisco (1850).
President Zachary Taylor dies of typhus, he is succeeded by Millard Fillmore

Singer patents his sewing machine (1851). Uncle Tom's Cabin
by Harriet Beecher Stowe published in serial installments (1851).

The New York Times begins publication (1851).

Walden, or Life in the Woods published by Henry David Thoreau (1854).

Queen Victoria and President Buchanan exchange messages over the first transatlantic cable (1858)

Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species (1859).

Electric home lighting demonstrated for the first time in the U.S. (1859).

Louis Pasteurdemonstrates that yeast can degrade sugar to ethanol and carbon dioxide and multiply in the process (1857).



Louis Pasteur publishes experiments that refute the theory of spontaneous generation (1861).


Abraham Lincoln elected President of the United States (1860).
First recorded baseball game held in San Francisco (1860).

Transcontinental telegraph line completed by Western Union (1861).

Yale University awards first American Ph.D. (1861).

President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation abolishes slavery (1863)

American Civil War (1861-1865).

Louis Pasteur develops pasteurization as a method to destroy unwanted organisms in wine (1864).
( Glimpse of History 6 )



Gregor Mendel published results of experiments on the laws of inheritance, thus establishing the science of genetics (1866)

Joseph Lister (Glimpse of History 5 ) publishes the first work on antiseptic surgery, beginning the trend toward modern aseptic techniques in medicine (1867) .

Homestead Act enacted (1862) .

Lincoln assassinated (April 14, 1865); succeeded by Andrew Johnson.
Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution abolishes slavery (Dec 18, 1865)

Ulysses S. Grant elected President of the US (1868).
First professional Baseball Club founded: The Cincinnati Red Stockings



Ferdinand J. Cohn published an early classification of bacteria and first used the genus name Bacillus (1875).

Robert Koch demonstrates that anthrax is caused by a bacterium.
( Glimpse of History 19) .

Ferdinand J. Cohn discovered the bacterial spore and related its resistance to sterilization processes (1877).


Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution allowing African-Americans to vote (1870) .

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer published by Mark Twain (1876).
Baseball's National League founded (1876) .

Telephone invented by Alexander Graham Bell (1876)

Anna Karenina published by Leo Tolstoy (1877).
The Washington Post begins publication (1877).
"Granula" introduced by James Harvey Kellogg (1877) .

The lightbulb was invented by Thomas Edison (1878).

Robert Koch introduces the use of pure culture techniques for handling bacteria in the laboratory (1881)

Walther and Fanny Hesseintroduce agar-agar as a solidifying gel for culture media (1881).

Koch identifies the causative agent of tuberculosis (1882).



Koch states Koch's postulates for determining the cause of a disease (1884).

Elie Metchnikoff ( Glimpse of History 15 ) discovers phagocytic cells and thus begins the study of immunology (1884).

Christian Gram publishes a paper describing the Gram stain (1884)

( Glimpse of History 3 )

Shibasaburo Kitasatodiscovered Clostridium tetani, the causative agent of tetanus (1884)

Thomas J. Burrillpioneered the field of plant pathology. Discovers "fire blight"of fruit trees is caused by a bacterium.

Erwin F. Smith , another pioneer plant pathologist, discovers "peach yellows" is caused by a virus.

Theodor Escherich identified Escherichia coli as a natural inhabitant of the human gut (1885)

Louis Pasteur published his work on immunization against rabies (1885).

Julius Petri adapts two plates to form a container for holding media and culturing microbes - the Petri dish (1887).

David Bruceidentified Brucella melitensis as causative agent of brucellosis in cattle (1887)

Martinus Beijerinck obtained a pure culture of root nodule bacterium Rhizobium and studied the process of nitrogen fixation (1888)(Glimpse of History 30 ).


American Association of the Red Cross founded by Clara Barton (1881).
Booker T. Washington starts the Tuskegee Institute (1881)
Photographic roll film invented (1881).

The internal combustion gasoline engine invented (1882).
Brooklyn Bridge completed (1882).

Life magazine begins publication.
Treasure Island written by Robert Louis Stevenson (1883).

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (1884).

First gasoline-powered vehicle built by Karl-Friedrich Benz in Germany (1885).
Fingerprinting used as identification (1885),




Coca-Cola launched (1886)
Statue of Liberty dedicated (1886).
Samuel Gompers is elected first president of the American Federation of Labor (1886)

Paul Ehrlich Paul Ehrlich proposed a theory of immunity in which antibodies are responsible for immunity (1890).

Emil von Behring ( Glimpse of History 16 ) developed a diphtheria antitoxin (1890).

Sergei Winogradsky studied nitrifying bacteria, advanced the idea of autotrophic metabolism

Weisman demonstrated important role of nucleus in heredity (1892).







Paul Ehrlichformulated sidechain theory of antibody formation (1897).


Close of the American frontier with the Sherman Anti-Trust Act (1890).

Yosemite National Park created (1890).

Kinetoscope (early motion picture projector) by Thomas Edison (1891)

Book matches invented (1892).

Ellis Island immigrant receiving station established (1892).

Hershey Chocolate Bar invented (1894).

X-rays invented (1895).

First modern Olympics held (1896).

George Washington Carver becomes head of the agricultural department at the Tuskegee Institute (1896).

Cathode-ray tube (1897).

Jell-O marketed (1897).

Spanish-American War (1898).

Original Rags written by Scott Joplin (1899) (Example of the first ragtime sheet music).

Mendel's heredity experiments rediscovered (1900)



Emil von Behring received Nobel Prize for the development of serum treatment, especially for diphtheria (1901)

Sir Ronald Ross recieves the Nobel Prize for the discovery of the life cycle of malaria parasite in humans and mosquitoes (1902)

Robert Koch receives Nobel Prize for founding scientific bacteriology and proving the cause of tuberculosis(1905)

Charles Louis received Nobel Prize for showing protozoa are the cause of some infectious diseases (1907)

Paul Ehrlich develops the drug Salvarsan to treat syphilis, thereby starting the use of chemotherapy to treat diseases. Receives Nobel Prize (1908).


Boxer Rebellion in China (1900)

First Nobel Prize awarded (1901)

Teddy Bear invented (1902)
Trans-Siberian Railway (1903)
Wright brothers' airplane flies at Kitty Hawk, N.C. (1903)

The Theory of Relativity developed by Albert Einstein (1905)

Russo-Japaneese War (1905)

Industrial Workers of the World formed (1905)

First radio broadcast (1906)

San Francisco earthquake (1906)

Panama Canal begun (1907)

Picasso paints Les Demoiselles d'Avingnon (1907)

Geiger counter invented (1908)

Ford introduces Model T (1908)

Prairie-style Robie House built by Frank Lloyd Wright (1909)


F. Peyton Rous discovers that a virus can cause cancer in chickens (1911).

Paul Ehrlich synthesized a "magic bullet" for syphilis (1912).


Robert Peary reaches North Pole (1909)

Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing (3M) and Hallmark, Inc. founded (1910)

Chevrolet Motor Company founded (1911)
Roald Amundsen arrives at the South Pole (1911)
Cellophane invented (1911)

Universal Pictures founded (1912)

The Titanic sinks (1912) .

First feature-length motion picture shown in America (1912)

Wrigley Field completed in Chicago (1914)

World War I (1914-1918)
Pyrex Glass invented (1915)
Jeanette Rankin becomes first woman in U.S. Congress (1916)

U.S. declares war on Germany (1917).
Bolshevik revolution in Russia (1917)
National Hockey League organized (1917).

18th Amendment ratified (1919)



Frederick Griffith discovers genetic transformation in bacteria, thereby raising a key question in genetics: What chemical caused the transformation (1928).

Alexander Flemingdiscovers and describes the properties of the first antibiotic, penicillin (1929).


National Football League organized (1920)
Prohibition begins with the 18th Amendment (1920)
19th Amendment allows women to vote (1920)

Karl Landsteiner receives the

Nobel Prize for the discovery of the ABO human blood groups (1930)

Cornelius Van Niel (Glimpse of History 11 ) pioneered work on the biochemistry of photosynthesis in sulfur bacteria(1931)

Gerhardt Komagk discovered sulfur drug for chemotherapy (1935). Receives the Nobel Prize in 1939.


Pearl Buck wrote The Good Earth

U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt introduces "The New Deal" (1933).

The Social Security Administration is created (1935)

BBC begins regular television service (1936).

The War of the Worlds Airs on American Radio (1938).

Picasso paints Guernica (1938)

World War II begins With the invasion of Poland by the German Army (1939).

John Steinbeck writes The Grapes of Wrath (1939)

Age of molecular genetics 1941- present

Selman Waksman described production of the antibiotic actinomycin, streptothricin, cycloserines and novobiocin by actinomycetes (1941). Receives Nobel Prize in 1952.

George Beadleand Edward Tatum ( Glimpse of History 7 ) produce evidence of genetic mutants, opening the field of molecular genetics (1941)

Oswald Avery , Colin MacLeod, and Maclyn McCarty demonstrate that Griffith's transforming principle is DNA (1944).

Joshua Lederbergand Edward Tatum demonstrate that DNA can be transferred from one bacterium to another (1944). Recieved Nobel Prize in 1958 with George Beadle.

Alexander Fleming, Sir E. B. Chain and Lord H.W. Florey receive the Nobel Prize for disscovering penicillin, the first antibiotic. (1945).

Barbara McClintock(Glimpse of History 8 ) demonstrates transposable elements in maize, and almost two decades later they are discovered in bacteria (1948).


First electron microscope (1940)



Scientists trigger atomic chain reaction (1944)

U.S. drops atomic bombs on Japan (1945)

John W. Mauchly and John P.Eckert Jr. invented the basics for today's computer (1946).

Dead Sea Scrolls discovered (1947)

Big Bang Theory proposed (1948).
Israel becomes a nation (1948)

Russia Blockades Berlin (1948)

Transistor invented by Bell Labratories (1948)

Gandhi assassinated in India (1948)

Mao Tse-Tung declared China's mainland "The People's Republic of China." (1949)

The USSR tests its first atomic bomb (1949).

Aldo Leopold publishes A Sand County Almanac (1949)

Elizabeth Hazen and Rachel Brown discovered antifungal nystatin (1950)

Max Theiler receives the Nobel Prize for developing a vaccine for yellow fever (1951)

James Watson , Francis Crick, Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins determine the structure of DNA (1953). Receive Nobel Prize in 1962.

Hans Adolf Krebs discovers the biochemical steps of the Krebs cycle in carbohydrate metabolism (1953)

Jonas Salk developed the first polio vaccine (1954)

John F. Enders, T.H. Weller and F.C. Robbins receive the Nobel Prize for growing poliovirus in cell cultures, making the polio vaccine possible (1954)



Polio vaccine approved by the U.S. government (1955)



D. Carlton Gajdusek demonstrates the slow infectious nature of the disease kuru, which is later shown to be caused by a prion (1957).

Daniel Bovet receives the Nobel Prize for the development of antihistamines (1957)

Severo Ochoa and Arthur Kornberg receive Nobel Prize for discoveries on the synthesis ofDNA and RNA (1959)


Margaret Mead writes Social Anthropology

(1950) Color television first introduced in U.S. (1951)

First contraceptive pill introduced (1952)

Lung cancer reported linked to smoking (1953)

Television becomes popular in U.S. homes (1954)

Desegregation of public schools follows Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

Bus boycott in Montgomery, AL (1955)
McDonald's fast food restaurants started (1955)

Cuban Revolution begins (1956)

The Highway Act was passed by Congress and President Eisenhower (1956).

Sputnik is launched (1957)

Explorer I, America's first satellite, orbits (1958)

Hawaii becomes the 50th state (1959)

Rene Dubos works on antimicrobial agents and environmental protection F. M. Burnet and Peter B. Medawar receive Nobel Prize for the discovery of acquired immunological tolerance (1960)

"Ames Test" to screen for mutagens developed by Bruce Ames

Max Delbruck, Alfred Hershey and Salvadore E. Luria receive Nobel Prize for describing the mechanism of viral infection of bacterial cells. (1969).


First weather satellite, Tiros I, launched by

the U.S. (1960) First human in space (1961)

Rachel Carson publishes Silent Spring (1962).

U.S. President John Kennedy assassinated (1963)

The United States Congress passed the Civil Rights Act (1964)

U.S. enters Vietnam (1965)

Abbie Hoffman leads demonstration disrupting Democratic National Convention in Chicago (1968)

Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy are assassinated (1968)

Neil Armstrong is the first person to walk on the moon (1969).

Woodstock Music Festival (1969)

Hamilton Smith reports the discovery of the first restriction enzyme (1970).

Theodor Diener demonstrates the fundamental differences between viroids and viruses (1971).

Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen, using plasmids, are the first to clone DNA (1973).

Cesar Milsein, Georges Kohler, and Niels Kai Jerne develop the technique for making monoclonal antibodies (1975).

Michael Bishop and Harold Varmus discover the cancer-causing genes, called oncogenes, and find that such genes are in normal tissues (1976).

Carl Woeseclassifies all life into three domains (1977).(Glimpse of History 10 )

Rosalyn S. Yalow, R.C.I. Guillemin and A.V. Schally receive the Nobel Prize for developing the radioimmunossay (RIA) techniques; and using RIA to analyze peptide hormones in the brain (1977)

Daniel Nathans, H.O. Smith and Werner Arber receive Nobel Prize for using restriction enzymes to map viral genomes (1978)


National Guard opens fire on anti-war demonstrators

at Kent State University, killing four students (1970).

The first Earth Day is celebrated (April 22, 1970).

President Nixon signs the Clean Air Act and the National Environmental Policy

Act (1970).

Apollo 14 and 15 crews explore the moon (1971).

Congress passes the Clean Water Act over President Nixon's veto (1972).

President Nixon signs the Endangered Species Act (1973).

Robert Leakey discovers 2.5 million year old human skull in Kenya (1973).

U.S. leaves Vietnam (1973).

Wounded Knee occupied by American Indians (1973).

First SALT treaty signed to limit nuclear war (1973).

President Nixon resigns (1974)

Report of ozone layer damage from spray can gasses (1976).

U.S. celebrates bicentennial (1976).

North and South Vietnam united (1976).

U.S. President Carter hosts summit talks for peace between Egypt and Israel (1978).

Margaret Thatcher becomes first woman prime minister of Great Britain (1979).

A rare cancer in humans is shown to be caused by a retrovirus (1980).

The World Health Organization declares eradication of smallpox in the world (1980).

Stanley Prusiner isolates a protein from a slow disease infection and suggests that it might direct its own replication. He suggests the agent be termed a prion (1982).

Luc Montagnier of France and Robert Gallo of the United States independently isolate and characterize the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) the cause of AIDS (1983).( Glimpse of History 29 )

Kary Mullis invents the polymerase chain reaction (1983).

Barbara McClintock receives the Nobel Prize for discovery of mobile genetic elements (1983)

Cesar Milstein, Georges J.F. Koehler and Niels Jerne receive the Nobel Prize for developing a method for the production of large quantities of monoclonal antibodies (1984).

Susumu Tonegawa recieves Nobel Prize for work on the genetics of antibody diversity (1987)


Personal computer launched by IBM (1981)

Martial law ends in Poland. L. Walesa released (1982).

Vietnam Veteran's Memorial built (1982)

Compact Discs (CD) launched (1983)

Macintosh computer with mouse launched (1984).

The Challenger Space Shuttle explodes (1986)

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC's) are banned (1987)

Gorbachev launches glasnot and perestroika campaigns in the Soviet Union (1987).

The U.S. and Soviet Union sign nuclear missile ban treaties (1987).

Global warming, the result of increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, becomes front page news (1988).

The Berlin Wall comes down (1989).

Tianenmen Square demonstrations (1989)

The Food and Drug Administration approves the first genetically engineered food for human consumption, a slower ripening tomato (1994).

The Food and Drug Administration approves the first protease inhibitor, a major weapon against the progression of AIDS (1995).

The first complete nucleotide sequence of a bacterial chromosome is reported (Haemophilus influenzae) (1995).

Peter C. Doherty and Rolf M. Zindernagel receives Nobel Prize for the discovery of how the immune system recognizes virus-infected cells (1996)

The first complete nucleotide sequence of all of the chromosomes of eukaryote is reported (yeast) (1997).

Stanley B. Prusiner receives Nobel Prize for the discovery and characterization of prions (1997)

An autoimmune disease (chronic arthritis) is linked to bacterial infection (1998).

Forrest Doolittle proposes that evolution proceeded through horizontal gene between the three domains (1999).


Mikhail Gorbachev receives Nobel Peace Prize

(1990) Helmut Kohl elected prime minister of reunited Germany (1990)

President De Klerk announces abolition of aparteid laws in South Africa (1991).

The European Union founded with the signing of the Maastricht Treaty (1992)

The Hubble Space Telescope launched (1993)

A new planet discovered near the 4th closest star to Earth (1996).

American and Russian crews meet at space station Mir (1997).

The Mars Pathfinder landed on Mars (1997)

World human population reaches 6 billion (1997).

The first new antibiotic in 35 years, Zyvox, is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (2000).