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Discovery, Chance and
the Scientific Method

Glossary

Access Excellence Classic Collection


Anthrax bacilli: An acute, infectious bacterial disease of sheep and cattle caused by the bacterium, Bacillus anthracis; transmissible to humans.

Antibiotic: A chemical substance, natural or synthetic, that can kill or inhibit the activities of microorganisms including bacteria or fungi.

Antiseptic: A chemical used to kill or prevent the growth of infectious microorganisms on skin, mucous membranes or other living tissues.

Arsphenamine: Also called salvasan; A light yellow powder containing 30% arsenic. Historically used to treat syphilis. An organic molecule with the structure: C6H6AsNO.

Bacteria: Simple one-celled organisms, belong to the Kingdom Monera, whose genetic material is not enclosed in a nuclear envelope.

Balustrade: A row of balusters (upright supports) topped by a rail. The railing of a staircase is an example of a type of balustrade.

Chance: An event that occurs without an identifiable cause or human intervention; occurs unpredictably; the cause of unaccountable happenings.

Chemotherapy: A treatment for various diseases that involves using a natural or synthetic chemical to achieve a cure.

Clinical test: Generally referring to controlled experimental procedures, carried out in a laboratory setting, designed to determine the efficacy of a particular drug or treatment.

Contamination: The introduction of unwanted microorganisms into a controlled experiment.

Culture: A population of microogranisms or cells that grow and multiply in culture medium.

Culture medium: The nutrient materials required for growth of microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi, also used for plant and animal tissue growth.

Curatives: Substances used in the curing of a disease.

Fungi: Simple organisms that belong to the Kingdom Fungi and include such organisms as the true fungi, molds and slime molds.

Infection: Invasion of a living system by potentially disease-causing organisms; may or may not produce disease symptoms.

Infectious disease: A disease caused by a disease-causing organism.

Lysis: The death and subsequent breakdown or dissolution of cells or tissues.

Osteomyelitis: An infection or inflammation of bone or bone marrow.

Penicillin: A name for a collective group of antibiotics derived from molds, generally the genus Penillicium or Aspergillus, that are active against certain bacteria.

Penicillium: A genus of fungi characterized by their structure and commonly referred to as the penicillins.

Pharmaceuticals: The medicinal drugs used as curatives.

Scientific method: A logical progression of observation and analysis designed to solve a problem or answer a question. Involves formulation of a hypothesis, or educated guess, which is then tested for its ability to explain observed phenomena.

Staphylococci: Infection-causing bacteria known as Staphylococcus aureus that have Gram-positive stain characteristics such as sphere-shaped and cluster when dividing. Killed by pasteurization and many disinfectants.

Syphilis: A sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacterium Trepanema pallidum.

Therapeutic: Substances or procedures that are related to the treatment of a disease or disorder.

Treponema pallidum: A spirochete shaped bacterium that causes syphilis.

Tubercle bacillus: Common name of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis; The bacteria that causes tuberculosis.

Zone of inhibition: The area of no bacterial growth which surrounds an antimicrobial agent.


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