In this post, we will see the book A World We Do Not See by Lev Potkov.
About the book
The reading public has always been keenly interested in the world of microscopic beings. And it is not difficult to explain why this is so, for the organisms which can
be seen only through the microscope play an exceedingly important role in Nature and in the life of man. It is micro-organisms that are responsible for the rotation of various substances in soil and to a great extent determine its productivity. Therefore, it is only natural that microbes occupy such a prominent place in the works of the great Russian soil scientists V. Dokuchayev, P. Kostychev and V. Williams.
The activity of microbes in water reservoirs is also very important as they are the direct producers of fodder for aquatic fauna. Today we know that a number of geological formations owe their existence to microbes, which, consequently, are a potent geological factor. Microbiological methods are now widely used in geological survey, particularly, in petroleum prospecting. Many industries, especially those dealing with fermentation and food processing, are based on the action of micro-organisms. Further development of such industries is wholly dependent on the progress of microbiology. The readers hardly need being reminded of the fact that micro-organisms are the cause of various diseases of man, animals and plants. Mankind cannot successfully control disease without a thorough study of its agents.
Recently, microbes have been discovered which produce therapeutic substances—antibiotics—whose practical application has proved highly effective, so that a
number of diseases formerlv considered incurable no longer constitute a threat to humanity. Antibiotics can be used for the treatment not only of humans, but also of animals and plants. The production of antibiotics is an extensive branch of industry.
We could give many more examples illustrating the importance of microbes, but even the few already mentioned are sufficient to draw attention to this group of organisms and make them the object of thorough study. Russian scientists have made a valuable contribution to microbiology, and the history of the science shall preserve for ever the names of I. Mechnikov, N. Gama- leya, I). Zabolotny, S. Vinogradsky, V. Omelyansky, B. Isachenko, and many other workers. Soviet microbiologists are today further developing the achievements of their teachers on the basis of up-to-date techniques.
It is not easy to describe in popular form the development and successes of microbiology. The book by L. Potkov is an attempt to solve this task. The author had worked long and assiduously, and we hope his effort will not prove in vain and that the book will meet the requirements of the readers.
The book was translated from Russian by W. Perelman and was published in 1953 by Foreign Languages Publishing House.
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You can get the book here.
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EDITOR’S NOTE 5
CHAPTER I. AN HISTORICAL ESSAY 10
CHAPTER IT. MICROBES 56
CHAPTER II. SOIL, PLANTS AND MICRO-ORGANISMS 81
CHAPTER IV. THE EARHVS HISTORY AND MICRO-ORGANISMS 103
CHAPTER V. MICROBES IN FOOD AND FODDER 117
Production of Alcohol 119
Production of Vinegar 123
Bacteria in Milk and Dairy Desine 125
Sauerkraut and Pickled Cucumbers 133
CHAPTER VI. FOODSTUFFS AND FODDER SPOILT BY MICROORGANISMS 136
Spontaneous Heating in Grain, Flour, Silage and Hay 138
Spoilage Organisms in Milk and Dairy Produce 139
Putrefactive Microbes 141
Diseases of Wine 144
CHAPTER VII. PROTECTION OF FOODSTUFFS FROM SPOILAGE MICRO-ORGANISMS 146
Cold Storage 149
CHAPTER VIIT. MICROBES IN CHEMICAL INDUSTRY 152
Butyric Acid 152
Citric Acid 152
Lactic Acid 153
Acetone and Butyl Alcohol 154
Microbes and the Textile Industry 154
Finishing Textiles 155
Tanning Leather 156
Fermentation of Cellulose 157
CHAPTER IX. MICROBES HARMFUL. TO FUEL, METAL 159
CHAPTER X. MICROBES CAUSING INFECTIOUS DISEASES IN MAN AND ANIMALS AND WOOD 163
Intestinal Diseases (Typhoid Fever and Dysentery) 166
Asiatic Cholera 168
Smallpox or Variola 173
Recurrent (Relapsing) Fever 178
Injections by Pyogenic Micro-Organisms 179
Porest-Spring Encephalitis 181
Rabies (Hydophobia) 194
CHAPTER XI. FIGHT AGAINST PATHOGENIC MICROBES 201
CHAPTER XII. DIRECTED VARIABILITY IN MICROBES 212