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Microbiology cover by Peggy O'Sullivan is under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/ ).

Description: This Microbiology textbook, adapted from the Boundless version, is intended to provide health care professionals with a working knowledge of infectious disease. Much of the book is devoted to the structure/function relationships in pathogenic microorganisms and how these relationships are expressed in host-parasite interactions. The text also examines Microbial diseases of specific organ systems as well as host response mechanisms.

Author: Peggy O'Sullivan

Original source: albertaoer.com

Adoption (faculty): Contact us if you are using this textbook in your course

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Open Textbooks:

Creative Commons License
Microbiology by Peggy O'Sullivan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

1. Reviewed by: Alan McGreevy
  • Institution: University of Winnipeg
  • Title/Position: Instructor
  • Overall Rating: 4.4 out of 5
  • Date:
  • License: Creative Commons License

Q: The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary

The text is a good introduction to microbiology for students with a background in biology and chemistry. The latter half of the text explores specific microbes in greater detail but focuses almost exclusively on human pathogens and sorts them by human body region rather than by phylogeny. While this is appropriate for a pathogen-oriented course, the has only a single chapter dedicated to exploring the full scope of microbial diversity and the significance of microbial ecology.

Comprehensiveness Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased

The text is accurate and error-free.

Content Accuracy Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: Content is up-to-date, but not in a way that will quickly make the text obsolete within a short period of time. The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement

The content on Archaea is relatively limited compared to other texts. As our knowledge of Archaea is growing rapidly, this omission will becoming even more significant in the future. The term “prokaryote” is also losing favour but is currently still used in many texts.

Relevance Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used

The writing is clear and accessible. As an introductory microbiology text, one of the major goals is the acquisition of new terminology by students and the text does an excellent job defining terms within the larger context of each section of the text.

Clarity Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework

The text is written coherently with consistent use of terminology and structure throughout.

Consistency Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course (i.e., enormous blocks of text without subheadings should be avoided). The text should not be overly self-referential, and should be easily reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader.

Each section of the text stands on its own; as long as the relevant background information is provided, an instructor would be able to pick and choose relevant sections to complement the course that they want to teach.

Modularity Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion

The text develops nicely from fundamental structures, growth and metabolism, through to molecular biology techniques and notable human pathogens by organ system.

Organization Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader

There is more white space throughout the text than one would typically find in a text that is designed for print. While this works in an electronic document where “pages” are not significant, it makes the physical copy of the book appear somewhat odd in places.

Interface Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text contains no grammatical errors

I was not able to find any grammatical errors in the text.

Grammar Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds

The first two chapters provide context by exploring the history of microbiology and the microscope. Other than one sentence about evidence of fermentation from a Neolithic village in China, the rest of the history is entirely Euro-centric. It would have been refreshing to see a reminder that microbes have been historically relevant all over the world.

Cultural Relevance Rating: 3 out of 5

Q: Are there any other comments you would like to make about this book, for example, its appropriateness in a Canadian context or specific updates you think need to be made?

It would be fantastic for the text to incorporate some specific information about microbiology in an Indigenous context, such as the traditional fermented products and antimicrobial compounds or the burden of tuberculosis.

This text seems most appropriate for Second Year students majoring in the health sciences with some high school biology and chemistry. While it could be used a First Year course, the text would be more useful to students who are already familiar with Eukaryotic cells. For Instructors using the later chapters about specific pathogens of human organ systems, it would be helpful but not essential for students to have introductory knowledge of anatomy and physiology.