Microbiology: An Introduction, 14th edition

Published by Pearson (March 16, 2023) © 2024

  • Gerard J. Tortora Bergen Community College
  • Berdell R. Funke North Dakota State University
  • Christine L. Case Skyline College
  • Warner B. Bair Lone Star College - CyFair
  • Derek Weber Raritan Valley Community College


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For pre-nursing/allied health students and mixed-majors courses.

Connect microbiology to future healthcare careers

Tortora/Case/Bair/Weber/Funke's Microbiology, An Introduction delivers an exceptionally clear presentation of complex topics, a careful balance of concepts and applications, and pedagogically superior art. The trusted clinical focus and student-friendly narrative help students understand why microbiology is relevant to their future healthcare careers.

The 14th Edition deepens the clinical focus and integrates SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 coverage. Updates include innovative microbiology research, revised immunology chapters, and an extensive diversity, equity and inclusion review.

Hallmark features of this title

  • Big Picture disease 2-page spreads focus on significant public health aspects of microbiology.
  • Check Your Understanding and Figure Questions are formative assessment questions that emphasize critical thinking instead of memorization.
  • In the Clinic scenarios with Critical Thinking Questions encourage thinking as health care professionals would in clinical scenarios.
  • Clinical Cases provide practical application to future allied health careers and encourage thinking critically.
  • Clinical Focus boxes present clinical scenarios based on real-life cases and ask students to think like microbiologists.
  • Exploring the Microbiome boxes illustrate how research in microbiology is done and present insights into newly identified ways that microbes influence human health.

New and updated features of this title

  • EXPANDED: Big Picture core topics are 2-page spreads that break important concepts into manageable steps, providing a clear learning framework. The new Big Picture feature addresses microbial solutions to climate change, and 5 new figures have been added to the text.
  • REVISED: Immunology coverage in Chapters 17, 18 and 19 features new art and straightforward discussions that make challenging and critical material easier for students to understand and retain. Updates include recent advances in mRNA vaccines
  • UPDATED: Extensive coverage of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 updates are presented throughout the text.
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion updates ensure the content aligns with current standards related to diversity, equity, and inclusion and reflects all learners' lived experiences.

Features of Mastering Microbiology for the 14th Edition

  • NEW: Pearson® Interactive Labs, structured around the process of science, feature real-world scenarios and guided feedback so students can make and learn from their mistakes. Labs include Gram Stain and Aseptic Technique, Smear Prep, Microscopy, Acid Fast Stain, Endospore Stain, Isolation Techniques and more.
  • NEW: In the Clinic Video Tutors feature 8 new tutors for the disease, environmental and industrial microbiology chapters (21-28). Tutors use critical-thinking questions that encourage students to think as health care professionals in clinical scenarios.
  • NEW: 15 Micro Lab Explorations are decision-tree style exercises that allow students to learn lab techniques and concepts, as they develop critical-thinking skills and confidence while learning concepts.
  • UPDATED: Micro Lab Tutors show appropriate PPR (personal protection equipment) in lab settings and introduce and assess students' understanding of lab concepts and techniques.
  • NEW: NCLEX-style Dynamic Study Module questions help students practice critical thinking and prepare for entrance and licensure exams.
  • NEW: TEAS and HESI exam practice questions (Study Area) help students prep for the nursing school entrance exam with 150 TEAS and 300 HESI multiple-choice questions and wrong-answer feedback for all questions.

Features of Pearson+ eTextbook for the 14th Edition

  • NEW: Check Your Understanding questions in each chapter are interactive checkpoints that give students immediate wrong and correct answer feedback to gauge their understanding of key learning outcomes in the chapter.
  • NEW: 8 In the Clinic Video Tutors for the disease, environmental and industrial microbiology chapters (Chs. 21-28). Now in every chapter, Tutors use critical-thinking questions and encourage students to think as health care professionals in clinical scenarios. Videos Quizzes can be accessed through the Pearson+ eTextbook.
  • Knowledge and Comprehension Study questions appear at the end of each chapter with answer links in the Pearson+ eTextbook.


  1. The Microbial World and You
  2. Chemical Principles
  3. Observing Microorganisms Through a Microscope
  4. Functional Anatomy of Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells
  5. Microbial Metabolism
  6. Microbial Growth
  7. The Control of Microbial Growth
  8. Microbial Genetics
  9. Biotechnology and DNA Technology


  1. Classification of Microorganisms
  2. The Prokaryotes: Domains Bacteria and Archaea
  3. The Eukaryotes: Fungi, Algae, Protozoa, and Helminths
  4. Viruses, Viroids, and Prions


  1. Principles of Disease and Epidemiology
  2. Microbial Mechanisms of Pathogenicity
  3. Innate Immunity: Nonspecific Defenses of the Host
  4. Adaptive Immunity: Specific Defenses of the Host
  5. Practical Applications of Immunology
  6. Disorders Associated with the Immune System
  7. Antimicrobial Drugs


  1. Microbial Diseases of the Skin and Eyes
  2. Microbial Diseases of the Nervous System
  3. Microbial Diseases of the Cardiovascular and Lymphoid Systems
  4. Microbial Diseases of the Respiratory System
  5. Microbial Diseases of the Digestive System
  6. Microbial Disease of the Urinary and Genital Systems


  1. Environmental Microbiology
  2. Applied and Industrial Microbiology

About our authors

Gerard J. Tortora (Chapters 1-5 and 14-16) is professor of biology and former biology coordinator at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey. He received his bachelor's degree in biology from Fairleigh Dickinson University and his master's degree in science education from Montclair State College. He has been a member of many professional organizations, including the American Society of Microbiology (ASM), the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society (HAPS), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the National Education Association (NEA), and the Metropolitan Association of College and University Biologists (MACUB).

Above all, Jerry is devoted to his students and their aspirations. In recognition of this commitment, MACUB presented Jerry with the organization's 1992 President's Memorial Award. In 1995, he was selected as one of the finest faculty scholars of Bergen Community College and was named Distinguished Faculty Scholar. In 1996, he received a National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) excellence award from the University of Texas and was selected to represent Bergen Community College in a campaign to increase awareness of the contributions of community colleges to higher education.

Jerry is the author of several best-selling science textbooks and laboratory manuals, a calling that often requires an additional 40 hours per week beyond his full-time teaching responsibilities. Nevertheless, he still makes time for four or five weekly aerobic workouts. He also enjoys attending opera performances at the Metropolitan Opera House, Broadway plays, and concerts. He spends his quiet time at his beach home on the New Jersey Shore.

To all my children, the most important gift I have: Lynne, Gerard Jr., Kenneth, Anthony, and Drew, whose love and support have been such an important part of my personal life and professional career.

Christine L. Case (Chapters 6-13 and 20-28) taught microbiology at Skyline College in San Bruno, California for 51 years. She received her Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction from Nova Southeastern University and her M.A. in microbiology from San Francisco State University. She was Director for the Society for Industrial Microbiology and is an active member of the ASM. She received the ASM and California Hayward outstanding educator awards. Chris received the SACNAS Distinguished Community College Mentor Award for her commitment to her students, several of whom have presented at undergraduate research conferences and won awards. Chris contributes regularly to the professional literature, develops innovative educational methodologies, and maintains a personal and professional commitment to conservation and the importance of science in society. Chris is also an avid photographer, and many of her photographs appear in this book.

I owe my deepest gratitude to Don Biederman and our three children, Daniel, Jonathan, and Andrea, for their unconditional love and unwavering support.

Warner B. Bair III (In-the-Clinic videos, eText Media Integration, eText assessments, Dynamic Study Modules) is a professor of biology at Lone Star College–CyFair in Cypress, Texas. He has a bachelor of science in general biology and a Ph.D. in cancer biology, both from the University of Arizona. He has over 10 years of higher education teaching experience, teaching both general biology and microbiology classes. Warner is the recipient of multiple educational awards, including the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) excellence award from the University of Texas and the League for Innovation in the Community College John and Suanne Roueche Excellence Award. Warner has previously authored Interactive Microbiology® videos and activities for the Mastering Microbiology website and is a member of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). He is also a certified Instructional Skill Workshop (ISW) facilitator, where he assists other professors in the development of engaging and active classroom instruction. When not working, Warner enjoys outdoor activities and travel. Warner would like to thank his wife, Meaghan, and daughter, Aisling, for their support and understanding of the many late nights and long weekends he spends pursuing his writing.

Derek Weber (In-the-Clinic videos, eText Media Integration, eText assessments, Dynamic Study Modules) is a professor of biology and microbiology at Raritan Valley Community College in Somerville, New Jersey. He received his B.S. in chemistry from Moravian College and his Ph.D. in biomolecular chemistry from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His current scholarly work focuses on the use of instructional technology in a flipped classroom to create a more active and engaging learning environment. Derek has received multiple awards for these efforts, including the Award for Innovative Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Technology at the International Teaching and Learning Conference. As part of his commitment to foster learning communities, Derek shares his work at state and national conferences and is a regular attendee at the annual American Society for Microbiology Conference for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE). He has previously authored MicroBooster Video Tutorials, available in MasteringMicrobiology, which remediate students on basic concepts in biology and chemistry as they apply to microbiology. Derek is grateful to his wife Lara and his children Andrew, James, and Lilly for their unconditional love and support.

Berdell R. Funke (1926-2020) received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. in microbiology from Kansas State University. He spent his professional years as a professor of microbiology at North Dakota State University. He taught introductory microbiology, including laboratory sections, general microbiology, food microbiology, soil microbiology, clinical parasitology, and pathogenic microbiology. As a research scientist in the Experiment Station at North Dakota State, he published numerous papers in soil microbiology and food microbiology. In December 2019 Bert received an honorary doctorate from NDSU. The Bison statue he was given at the awards ceremony was a source of great pride for him. His name will live on at NDSU through the Berdell Funke Microbiology Scholarship and the Dr. Berdell Funke Medal of Excellence in Microbiology, which is presented each year to an outstanding graduate. We thank Bert and his family for his contributions over the past thirty years to the first edition of Microbiology, An Introduction, and its subsequent editions.

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