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Color Atlas of Medical Bacteriology, Second Edition

Authors: Luis de la Maza1, Marie T. Pezzlo2, Janet T. Shigei3, Grace L. Tan4, Ellena M. Peterson5
Affiliations: 1: University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine, Orange, California; 2: University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine, Orange, California; 3: University of California, Irvine, Medical Center, Orange, California; 4: University of California, Irvine, Medical Center, Orange, California; 5: University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine, Orange, California;
Content Type: Reference
Format: Hardcover
Publication Year: 2013

Category: Bacterial Pathogenesis

Conceived by a team of authors with decades of classroom and laboraory experience, the includes more than 730 brilliant, four-color images of common pathogenic bacteria and descriptions of the methods used to identify them, including microscopic and phenotypic characteristics, colonial morphology, and biochemical properties.

Each chapter, organized by pathogen and taxonomic group, begins with a brief introduction that provides a contextual framework for the images. This second edition embraces the latest developments in molecular biology methodology in the diagnostic laboratory with a new chapter examining the breadth and possibilities of these new techniques. Also, in light of the alarming emergence of antibiotic resistance, antimicrobial susceptibiliy testing is addressed in another new chapter. The final chapter on stains, media, and reagents details the most common menthods and biochemical reactions used in the identification of pathogenic bacteria. The book's hundreds of illustrations, of typical stains, colony morphologies, and biochemical reactions of bacteria most frequently encountered in the clinical laboratory, have been thouroughly updated.

A valuable illustrative supplement for lectures and laboratory presentations, this easy-to-use atlas was written for laboratorians, clinicians, students, and anyone interested in the field of diagnostic medical bacteriology.

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 Doody's Review Service

12 February 2015


An absolutely beautiful book, this is the second edition of a color atlas of medical bacteriology first published in 2004. 


The purpose is to provide "typical Gram stains, colony morphologies, and biochemical reactions of bacteria most frequently encountered in the clinical laboratory." These very worthy objectives are superbly met by this edition. 


The authors do not explicitly state for whom this book was written. However, it would be of obvious benefit to clinical laboratory scientists (CLS) in training or practice working in the clinical microbiology laboratory as well as pathologists (residents, practicing), doctoral level clinical microbiologists or fellows, and infectious diseases practitioners (including fellows, pharmacists, etc.). The authors are very well respected in this field. 


This atlas truly exemplifies "a picture is worth 1,000 words." The book has 40 chapters, 38 of which are dedicated to specific bacteria. Each chapter has a standardized format -- a brief introduction followed by pictures of unparalleled pedagogical value. I was very impressed with the authors' focus on typical findings and not confusing readers with other and/or unusual appearances of various bacteria. The images are crisp and clear and the color reproduction perfect. This book proved its worth immediately. Shortly after I received it for review, we had a possible Vibrio spp. isolate in the laboratory, a very rare event and one with which we do not have a lot of expertise. We used this book to compare our Gram stains and colony morphologies with that depicted. We quickly determined our preliminary identification was correct. The penultimate chapter is a nice compilation of schematic diagrams depicting current and emerging molecular clinical microbiology diagnostic technologies. The authors seemingly lament the replacement of conventional clinical bacteriology with the increasing use of molecular methods. Small clinical microbiology laboratories such as mine, however, will continue to rely heavily on conventional microbiology test methods, and therefore on atlases like this one. Also valuable in this book are key warnings regarding unreliable identification of certain bacteria by automated instruments and depiction of reliable morphological and macroscopic biochemical or other reactions (e.g., tube, API strips, agglutination assays). An amusing point -- the index is one of the most detailed I've ever encountered. As a testament to the comprehensiveness of this book and its detailed index, I was able to immediately find the figure depicting the Gram stain appearance of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. For CLS students, this atlas should be required reading and included in their personal library for use throughout their professional career. For anyone working in or using data from the clinical microbiology laboratory in his/her daily practice, this should be a readily available reference at the bench or for quick consultation.


This is a beautiful atlas and should be a required reference in any clinical microbiology laboratory. The authors and ASM Press should be highly commended for performing an invaluable service to the clinical microbiology community with the publication of this book.

Weighted Numerical Score: 95 - 4 Stars!

Doody's Review Service

Reviewer: Valerie L. Ng, PhD MD(Alameda County Medical Center/Highland Hospital)

Review Date: July 2013

©Doody’s Review Service

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