Microorganisms Found in the Environment

Ian L. Pepper, Terry J. Gentry

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

14 Scopus citations


This chapter introduces students to all classes of microorganisms found in the environment as opposed to clinical microbes found within the human body. Specific major domains consist of Archaea, Eukarya and Bacteria. Of these, the Bacteria and the Archaea are termed prokaryotes and the Eukarya are known as eukaryotes. Microorganisms within the Eukarya include fungi, protozoa and algae. In addition to the major domains, the other important biological entities are a unique group known as viruses that can infect eukaryotic or prokaryotic organisms. Viruses have no metabolic capacity and rely on infected hosts to produce viral parts that self-assemble. Similar to viruses are the viroids, which are infectious single-stranded RNAs that can infect plants. Finally, we discuss prions, which are infectious proteins that can destroy brain tissue-the transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) diseases. For all entities, structures, diversity and important environmental aspects are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEnvironmental Microbiology
Subtitle of host publicationThird Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)9780123946263
StatePublished - 2015


  • Algae
  • Archaeans
  • Bacteria
  • Fungi
  • Prions
  • Viroids
  • Viruses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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