Although we are accustomed to equating the presence of microbes with disease, in fact most microbes play a vital "friendly" role in shaping our lives. It is not just that one hundred million microbes can populate a thimbleful of fertile soil, or that many millions live happily in as much of our saliva. Microbes are everywhere, and we could not survive without them. To emphasize their amazing ubiquity, Jeanette Farrell considers the invisible bugs essential to an everyday event: the eating of a light lunch consisting of a cheese sandwich and a chocolate bar. Microbes create such a lunch, digest it, and, through the alchemy of decomposition, transform it so that the cycle can start all over again. In the course of her eye-opening narrative, Dr. Farrell relates the historical significance of using microbes to preserve foods, our long-standing ambivalence about the microbes that live on and in us, and our growing understanding of their importance.
Interspersed with fascinating anecdotes and illustrations, Invisible Allies will transform the reader's perception of the microcosmic world--around and inside us.
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As a girl, Jeanette Farrell worked on weekends at a tuberculosis sanatorium in Kentucky founded by her father. After graduating from college, she volunteered for a leprosy relief agency in India. She has recently completed her medical residency in Seattle, Washington, where she lives with her husband and two children.
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