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prokaryotic metabolism

Byung Hong Kim and Geoffrey Michael Gadd
Cambridge University Press, £49.99

This is an advanced textbook that thoroughly discusses the biology of prokaryotes, including both bacteria and archaea. It is set out in a similar way as many biochemistry texts, with each chapter heading leading us from cell structure and physiology, through metabolism and growth and on to regulation.

All pathways are depicted with their chemical structures, though there are no depictions of experiments or examples of results. Indeed, the information is presented as is, and there is no discussion of how any of these conclusions were obtained or the data supporting them. This makes it a good reference text, but somewhat dry reading for students.

Where this text differs from others is in the range and depth of examples it discusses. A familiarity with the principles of biochemistry and cell biology will greatly enhance the utility of this text. By briefly skimming over core metabolism the authors have a great deal of space to discuss more exotic pathways, such as uranium oxidation and anoxygenic photosynthesis. These pathways are all described with appropriate chemical details and extensive referencing, set out in an easily accessible way.

Overall this is an excellent text for researchers to refer to and for more advanced students to understand the complexities that are presented by prokaryotic organisms.

Ellis O’Neill

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