Glossary

anaerobic: Without oxygen.

antibiotic: A substance that kills a bacterial infection.

bacteria: Microscopic one-celled organisms (bacterium: a single organism).

bacteriophage: A virus that infects bacteria.

bioremediation: The process of cleaning up the environment using microbes.

capsid: The protein coat of a virus.

cyanobacteria: A type of bacteria once called blue-green algae.

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid): The genetic material, found in the nucleus of a living cell, that carries the information about an organism and contains the codes needed to build proteins.

enzyme: A protein that controls chemical reactions.

flagella: Long, whiplike tails on some types of bacteria that allow them to move.

genetic engineering: The alteration of genetic material in an organism; involves the transfer of DNA from one cell to another.

genome: The complete sequence of DNA base pairs that code for a specific organism.

lymphocyte: A type of white blood cell that produces antibodies. microbe: A microscopic organism.

microbiology: The scientific study of microscopic organisms.

nanometer: An extremely small unit of measure; one-billionth of a meter.

nanotechnology: Research and engineering performed at a molecular level.

pathogen: A disease-causing organism.

phagocyte: A type of white blood cell that engulfs and destroys harmful bacteria.

plasmid: A small, circular molecule of DNA found in bacteria.

spore: A single bacterial cell covered with a special protective coat that allows it to remain in a resting state.

vaccine: A substance made from dead or weakened bacteria or viruses used to inoculate a person in order to prevent a disease and produce an immunity to it.

vector: An animal or insect that carries a bacteria or virus but is not harmed by it.

virus: A disease-producing particle composed of genetic material covered with a protein coat; a virus only can reproduce in a living cell.

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