Designed as an upper-level textbook and a reference for researchers, this important book concentrates on central concepts of the bacterial lifestyle. Taking a refreshingly new approach, it present an integrated view of the prokaryotic cell as an organism and as a member of an interacting population. Beginning with a description of cellular structures, the text proceeds through metabolic pathways and metabolic reactions to the genes and regulatory mechanisms. At a higher level of complexity, a discussion of cell differentiation processes is followed by a description of the diversity of prokaryotes and their role in the biosphere. A closing section deals with man and microbes (ie, applied microbiology). The first text to adopt an integrated view of the prokaryotic cell as an organism and as a member of a population. Vividly illustrates the diversity of the prokaryotic world - nearly all the metabolic diversity in living organisms is found in microbes. New developments in applied microbiology highlighted. Extensive linking between related topics allows easy navigation through the book.