Ever since Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (1670) resolved what he described as "animalicules" with his crude single-lens microscope, the knowledge of these tiny organisms has been menacing. Like Gulliver waking to the diminutive citizens of Lilliput, the universe suddenly became much larger and rather more ominous with the discovery of this microscopic world.

PureBright from PurePulse Technologies
As soon as scientists had established a firm causal relationship between microorganisms and pathogenesis, the development of techniques to control the growth of these organisms became a priority. Louis Pasteur is rightfully placed in the pantheon of great scientists for his efforts in this regard. His process for killing microorganisms with heat and pressure made him an international celebrity, having made the world safe for good-tasting beer.

However, the simple lactobacilli and streptococcal bacteria that were destroyed through pasteurization were not the only organisms to be reckoned with. With the development of more powerful...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?