Revised 1997 Sep 3


Some definitions include a link to a page giving more information about the word.
= any proton donor (H+); low pH, neutralize bases. Examples: HCl, vinegar, -COOH,
aerobic = oxygen present. Aerobes are bacteria that require oxygen.
agar = polysaccharides used to gel liquids for bacteria media and human foods including ice cream. Does not melt at room temperature like gelatin. Only a few marine bacteria can digest agar. Agar is obtained from seaweeds (algae) by heating, acid, and freezing. Gelling temperature varies.
alga = single celled green plants usually growing in water; often in long chain, visible to naked eye.
allergy = an immune reaction of the body which causes discomfort and possible harm.
ambient = surrounding. Ambient temperature would be the room temperature.
amino acids = organic acids bearing -NH2 group; building blocks of proteins.
anaerobic = oxygen not present or depleted. Anaerobes are bacteria which are able to grow in the absence of oxygen provided suitable reducible compounds are present to accept electrons.
antibodies = several sizes of structurally similar protein molecules which are able to bind to specific proteins or other substances; forming a main line of defense in animals against foreign items.
bacteria = single celled organisms non-green (except the blue-green bacteria {algae}) which have cell wall compositions different than other living organisms. LINK to bacteria page
base = neturalize acids producing a salt; cause high pH. Examples: lye, -OH, ammonia,
beneficial = useful, offering benefits. Beneficial insects produce honey or eat harmful insects.
biochemicals = organic compounds made by living organisms: proteins, vitamins, fats, etc
biochemistry = that division of chemistry which studies the compounds made by living things
bioluminescence = production of light by living organisms: fireflies, photobacteria, glowworm
carbohydrate = sugars or starches produced by plants to store energy. Also animal glycogen.
chlorophyll = green molecule in plants; red in bacteria; needed for making glucose (a sugar) from light energy and carbon dioxide and water.
cide = suffix meaning kill or killer; insecticide = insect killer; rodenticide = rat killer.
compound = a group of atoms chemically bonded together; bonding follows definite rules of nature
contamination = undesired foreign matter or organisms in a product or on an object.
cyst = a sac containing a dormant animal. a sac of morbid matter in plant or animal tissue.
debris = remains of anything broken down: ruins, decayed matter, parts of stone or organisms
DNA = abbreviation for deoxyribonucleic acid which is the main carrier of genetic information
dung = the solid excrement of animals: feces, droppings, manure, bowel movement, scat. See dung jars expt
electron accepter = a group which accepts electrons so donor becomes oxidized. LINK
entomology = the study of insects. Entomolgists are scientists who study insects.
environment = the surrounding things, conditions, or influences.
evaporate = turn to vapor. Salt water absorbs heat and evaporates leaving a deposit of dry salt.
experiment = a test, a trial, a tentative procedure, an effort to test an idea
fermentation = action of microbes on substance in absence of air. Yeast ferments glucose to alcohol & CO2. Yeast enzymes catalyse the change. Initially, enzymes were called ferments.
fertilization = union of egg and sperm to produce a zygote which can grow into an embryo. Fertilization is also the application of manure or minerals to soil so plants have their needs met.
fungi = none makes its own food; they use dead matter or living organisms. Includes molds, mildews, rusts, smuts, mushrooms, yeasts-have some differences
gene = the fundamental unit of heredity. Usually a string of DNA, but RNA genes are known.
genus = a group of species; Example: all oak species belong to the Oak genus Quercus
habitat = the kind of place a plant or animal usually lives, place of abode
hyaline = glasslike, transparent like glass. also hyalin. Some structures of fungi are hyaline.
hypha = one filament of a fungus, a hollow tube in which the nuclei move freely; not separate cells as in plants. The mass of hyphae (pl) is the mycelium; the fungus body.
incubate = hold bird eggs, culture of organisms, or chemical reaction at a desired temperature.
invertebrate is any animal lacking a backbone; most live in moist soil, freshwater, or sea.
ipm = IPM Integrated Pest Management = best coordinated used of biocontrol, time of spray
large intestine = organ just anterior to rectum; stores feces and recovers water and some nutrients.
larva larvae (pl) = insect stage following egg; maggot = larva of fly; grub = larva of wasp or beetle
marine = pertains to sea or ocean, saltwater. Marine bacteria are found in oceans.
marsh = tract of low wetlands often home of reeds or sedges; may be salt or fresh water.
medium = a mixture used for growing organism. Milk is a good medium for Lactobacilli.
microbiology is the study of microbes, all small organisms which require using a microscope to see. Microbiology includes bacteriology, protozoology, mycology (fungi), zymology (yeasts).
mimic = to copy the sound, color, odor, or other characteristic of an object or organism.
mites = microscopic 8-legged roundish hairy arthopods eat dead organic matter, living plants, living animals
mold = microscopic fungi which grow rapidly on sugars in plant and animal matter; clouds of spores.
nucleic acids = DNA, m-RNA, t-RNA (transfer amino acids), ribosome
organism is one individual living plant, animal, bacterium, or fungus. One virus is called a particle
organic = pertaining to organic (carbon) chemistry or natural product of living organism
parasite = parasites attack organisms externally (mites, lice, ticks); parasitoids attack internally such as wasp larva that live inside host eating its tissues (parasitoid used only by entomologists).
pigment = any substance which colors cells or tissues of plants or animals; soluble or insoluble.
prion = a protein which is able to reproduce. Few known, but they cause disease: scabies,
protein = amino acids linked together to form enzymes, structural proteins, or muscle.
protozoa = are single celled animals, some contain chlorophyll and made some food. Others eat bacteria. Some are huge; visible to naked eye; larger than some inveretbrates.
pupa = insect stage between larva and adult, puparium = pupal case (skin, shell), cocoon = silky puparium of moths and many other insects; also silky egg case of spiders.
qq = qualitative analysis is the process of determining which elements or compounds are present. quantitative analysis is determination of how much of one substance is present.
respirator = a safety device worn over the nose and mouth to remove noxious substances from air. The respirator must contain the proper filter for the hazard present.
redox; reduction = gain electrons; oxidation = lose electrons. Occur at the same time. redox When an iron nail rusts, the iron is oxidized and oxygen is reduced. Oxidation is a loss of electrons and reduction is a gain of electrons. Here the iron gave electrons to the oxygen. In other examples, oxygen may not be involved. redox energy transfers are the basis of all life on earth. We will devote an entire page to redox later. LINK TO THAT PAGE.
RNA = abbreviation for ribonucleic acids: transfer-RNA, ribosomes, m-RNA
sediment = any matter which collects at the bottom of a liquid: crystals, dead organims, etc
slime = slippery substance consisting of protozoa, algae, bacteria, and polymers. Slimes are often carbohydrate polymers made by bacteria and yeasts from sugars.
species = a single kind of organism; white-tail and mule are different species of deer
spore = a walled body containing one or more nucleus; capable of producing a new organism.
sporocap = a cap of spores as in Pilobolus at the end of the clublike sporophore
sporophore = is the stalk of a fungus bearing spores.
succession = in all natural environments a dominant species is replaced by another. Example: weeds, grass, shrubs, trees. Example 2: molds (sugar eating), mushrooms (cellulose eating).
toxic = poisonous, toxicant, toxin = poisonous compound produced by a pathogenic bacterium
the WEB = the hypertext linked servers (computers) of the world which are able to deliver documents (HTML files) into your computer provided you have a browser and an internet connection.
virus = a non-living particle containing genetic matter (nucleic acid) and covering of protein. The covering may contain lipid (fatty matter). Viruses can multiply only inside a suitable living cell. Bacterial viruses often contain a hollow tail which injects the genetic matter into a suitable host bacterium. LINK to phage structure page.

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Visitors since 1997 Sep 3

Written by Harold Eddleman, Ph. D., President, Indiana Biolab, 14045 Huff St., Palmyra IN 47164
Copyright 1997 by Harold Eddleman. This glossary page is hereby placed in the Public Domain. You may use it without limitation, except that the author may not be held liable for any problem, including errors or omissions. Harold Eddleman.