Brock Biology of Microorganisms, 16th edition

Published by Pearson (February 25, 2020) © 2021

  • Michael T. Madigan Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
  • Kelly S. Bender Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • Daniel H. Buckley Cornell University
  • W Matthew Sattley Indiana Wesleyan University
  • David A. Stahl University of Washington Seattle


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For courses in general microbiology.

Authoritative. Accurate. Accessible.

Brock Biology of Microorganisms sets the standard for accuracy, scholarship, cutting edge research and a visually stunning art program to illustrate basic concepts. The text guides students through the 6 major themes of microbiology determined by the American Society of Microbiology Conference on Undergraduate Education: Evolution, Cell Structure and Function, Metabolic Pathways, Information Flow and Genetics, Microbial Systems and the Impact of Microorganisms. 

The 16th Edition focuses each chapter on a recent discovery to connect students with the most current science and engage them with exciting, real-world topics.

Hallmark features of this title

Connect across microbiology concepts

  • Key Concept statements start each major chapter part and give students a big picture view of the content before diving into the details.
  • Evolution as a Framework provides a framework for building knowledge, using evolution as an overarching theme to unite microbiological concepts.

Current coverage

  • Immunotherapy section covers up-to-date cancer treatment, related therapeutic medicine and likely links between disorders of the microbiome and specific syndromes.

Deepen understanding

  • Molecular Microbiology and Immunology chapters discuss eukaryotic and archaeal genetics and the relatedness of genetic information flow. A discussion of immunity with detail between innate and adaptive linkages helps students grasp immune responses.

New and updated features of this title

Connect across microbiology concepts

  • References remind students what they learned in earlier chapters to better understand what they are learning now.

Current coverage

  • 34 MicrobiologyNow chapter-opening vignettes introduce the chapter's theme through a recent discovery in the field of microbiology.
  • Chapter on the human microbiome presents a new section on the human virome, describing how metagenomics is aiding the discovery and isolation of many new viruses.
  • UPDATED: 21st Century Microbiology content covers global climate change, biofuels, and microbial fuel cells.

Deepen understanding

  • Stunningly visual introductory chapter on viruses in Unit I (The Foundations of Microbiology) completes the overview of the microbial world with basic principles of microbiology.
  • Additional Explore the Microbial World features throughout the text give students a feel for special topics in Microbiology and fuel their curiosity.

Features of Mastering Microbiology for the 16th Edition

  • MicroLab Explorations provide decision-tree style lab exercises that allow students to learn and get feedback in a low-stakes environment, while learning important lab techniques and concepts for wet or virtual lab experiences.
  • Lab Technique Videos give students an opportunity to see techniques performed correctly and quiz themselves on lab procedures before and after lab time.
  • Interactive Microbiology is a dynamic suite of interactive tutorials and animations that teach key microbiology concepts, including Operons, Biofilms and Quorum Sensing, Aerobic Respiration in Bacteria, Complement, and more. Tutorials actively engage students by presenting concepts within real healthcare scenarios that emphasize problem solving.
  • Clinical Case Study Coaching Activities help students connect microbiological theory to real-world diagnosis and treatment as they put knowledge into practice.
  • ASM Curriculum Guidelines pre-test/post-test assessments provide efficient, customizable assessment of 6 underlying concepts and 22 topics of lasting importance as determined by the American Society of Microbiology.
  • MCAT prep questions help prepare students to sit for the MCAT by emulating the appropriate content sections, cognitive skills and question types of the exam.


  1. The Microbial World
  2. Microbial Cell Structure and Function
  3. Microbial Metabolism
  4. Microbial Growth and Its Control
  5. Viruses and Their Multiplication


  1. Microbial Information Flow and Protein Processing
  2. Microbial Regulatory Systems
  3. Molecular Aspects of Microbial Growth
  4. Genetics of Bacteria and Archaea


  1. Microbial Genomics and Other Omics
  2. Viral Genomics and Diversity
  3. Biotechnology and Synthetic Biology
  4. Microbial Evolution and Genome Dynamics


  1. Metabolic Diversity of Microorganisms
  2. Ecological Diversity of Bacteria
  3. Phylogenetic Diversity of Bacteria
  4. Phylogenetic Diversity of Archaea
  5. Diversity of Microbial Eukarya


  1. Taking the Measure of Microbial Systems
  2. Microbial Ecosystems
  3. Nutrient Cycles
  4. Microbiology of the Built Environment
  5. Microbial Symbioses with Microbes, Plants, and Animals


  1. Microbial Symbioses with Humans
  2. Microbial Infection and Pathogenesis
  3. Innate Immunity: Broadly Specific Host Defenses
  4. Adaptive Immunity: Highly Specific Host Defenses
  5. Immune Disorders and Antimicrobial Therapy


  1. Diagnosing Infectious Diseases
  2. Epidemiology and Public Health
  3. Person-to-Person Bacterial and Viral Diseases
  4. Vectorborne and Soilborne Bacterial and Viral Diseases
  5. Waterborne and Foodborne Bacterial and Viral Diseases
  6. Eukaryotic Pathogens: Fungi, Protozoa, and Helminths

About our authors

Michael T. Madigan received his B.S. in Biology and Education from Wisconsin State University—Stevens Point (1971) and his M.S. (1974) and Ph.D. (1976) in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin—Madison in the laboratory of Thomas Brock. Following a postdoc at Indiana University with Howard Gest, Mike moved to Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where he taught courses in introductory microbiology and bacterial diversity as a professor of microbiology for 33 years. In 1988 Mike was selected as the Outstanding Teacher in the College of Science and in 1993, the Outstanding Researcher. In 2001 he received the SIUC Outstanding Scholar Award and Distinguished Professor title. In 2003 Mike received the Carski Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching from the American Society for Microbiology, and he is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. He has also been recognized by the American Red Cross as a major volunteer blood donor for the 24 gallons of blood he has donated since 1967. Mike’s research is focused on phototrophic bacteria that inhabit extreme environments, and for the past 20 years his emphasis has been Antarctic microbiology. Mike has co-edited a major treatise on phototrophic bacteria and served for 10 years as chief editor of the journal Archives of Microbiology. He currently serves on the editorial board of the journals Environmental Microbiology and Antonie van Leeuwenhoek. Mike’s other interests include forestry, swimming, reading, and caring for his dogs and horses. He lives on a small farm near a quiet lake with his wife, Nancy, three dogs (Kato, Nut, and Merlyn), and three horses (Eddie, Georgie, and Roscoe).

Kelly S. Bender received her B.S. in Biology from Southeast Missouri State University (1999) and her Ph.D. (2003) in Molecular Biology, Microbiology, and Biochemistry from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Her dissertation research focused on the genetics of perchlorate-reducing bacteria. During her postdoctoral fellowship, Kelly worked on the genetic regulation of sulfate-reducing bacteria in the laboratory of Judy Wall at the University of Missouri—Columbia. She also completed a transatlantic biotechnology fellowship at Uppsala University in Sweden researching regulatory small RNAs in bacteria. In 2006, Kelly returned to her alma mater, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology and in 2012 was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor. She has served as Chair of the SIUC Department of Microbiology since 2018. Her lab studies a range of topics including regulation in sulfate-reducing bacteria, the microbial community dynamics of sites impacted by acid mine drainage, and diversity of phototrophic heliobacteria. Kelly teaches courses in introductory microbiology and microbial diversity, has served on numerous federal grant review panels, and is an active member of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). Her other interests include spending time with her daughter, Violet, and husband, Dick.

Daniel H. Buckley is a Professor at Cornell University in the School of Integrative Plant Science and the Department of Microbiology. He earned his B.S. in Microbiology (1994) at the University of Rochester and his Ph.D. in Microbiology (2000) at Michigan State University. His graduate research in the laboratory of Thomas M. Schmidt explored environmental factors that influence microbial diversity in soils. Dan then received a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship to work with Pieter T. Visscher, University of Connecticut, investigating linkages between microbial diversity and biogeochemistry within microbial mats and stromatolites. Dan moved to Cornell in 2003 where he investigates the ecology and evolution of the diverse microorganisms that live in soils. He has taught both introductory and advanced courses in microbiology, microbial diversity, and microbial genomics. He received a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award in 2005 for excellence in integrating research and education, and served as Co-Director of the MBL Microbial Diversity summer course in Woods Hole, Massachusetts (2009—2013). He currently serves on the editorial boards of Applied and Environmental Microbiology and Environmental Microbiology. Dan lives in Ithaca, New York, with his wife, Merry, and sons, Finn and Colin.

Matthew Sattley received his B.A. in Biology in 1998 from Blackburn College (Illinois) and his Ph.D. (2006) in Molecular Biology, Microbiology, and Biochemistry from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. His graduate studies focused on the microbiology of sulfur cycling and other biogeochemical processes in permanently ice-covered lakes of Antarctica. In his postdoctoral research at Washington University in Saint Louis, he studied the physiology and genomics of anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria in Robert Blankenship’s laboratory. Matt then accepted a faculty appointment to the Department of Biology at MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kansas), where he supervised undergraduate research and taught courses in microbiology, environmental science, and cell biology. In 2010, Matt transitioned to the Division of Natural Sciences at Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU), where he is a Professor of Biology and has served as the Director of the Hodson Summer Research Institute, a faculty-led summer research program for undergraduate students in the Natural Sciences. Matt’s research group investigates the ecology, diversity, and genomics of bacteria that inhabit extreme environments, and in 2017, he was the recipient of IWU’s Outstanding Scholarship Award. Matt is a member of the American Society for Microbiology (including its Indiana Branch) and the Indiana Academy of Science. Matt lives in Marion, Indiana, with his wife, Ann, and sons, Josiah and Samuel. Outside of teaching and research, Matt enjoys playing drums, reading, motorcycling, and baseball.

David A. Stahl received his B.S. degree in Microbiology from the University of Washington, Seattle, and completed graduate studies in microbial phylogeny and evolution with Carl Woese in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana—Champaign. Subsequent work as a postdoctoral fellow with Norman Pace, then at the National Jewish Hospital in Colorado, involved early applications of 16S rRNA-based sequence analysis to the study of natural microbial communities. In 1984 Dave joined the faculty at the University of Illinois with appointments in Veterinary Medicine, Microbiology, and Civil Engineering. In 1994 he moved to the Department of Civil Engineering at Northwestern University, and in 2000 returned to the University of Washington as professor in the Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Microbiology. Dave is known for his work in microbial evolution, ecology, and systematics, and received the 1999 Bergey Award and the 2006 ASM Procter & Gamble Award in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Dave is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. His main research interests surround the biogeochemistry of nitrogen and sulfur and the microbial communities that sustain the associated nutrient cycles. His laboratory was the first to culture ammonia-oxidizing Archaea, a group believed to be the key mediators of this process in the nitrogen cycle. Dave has taught several courses in environmental microbiology, was one of the founding editors of the journal Environmental Microbiology, and has served on many advisory committees. Outside the lab, Dave enjoys hiking, bicycling, spending time with family, reading a good science fiction book, and–with his wife, Lin–renovating an old farmhouse on Bainbridge Island.

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