My memories of Pseudomonas in the twentieth century

B W Holloway

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The genus Pseudomonas is highly significant for health sciences, agriculture, microbiology, biotechnology and environmental science. This was not always so. An historical and personal perspective or this rise from microbiological obscurity in the mid twentieth century is provided by a microbial geneticist who spent fifty years working on this genus. When microbial science began to expand in the late 1940’s, Pseudomonas had only one well defined species, P. aeruginosa, and a confused taxonomy of other isolates assigned to the genus. The extraordinary metabolic variation of these isolates had been recognised, but there was little biochemical knowledge by way of explanation. This situation had the virtue of attracting scientists of many disciplines who in the next ten to twenty years demonstrated novel biochemical pathways, constructed a sound taxonomic basis for the genus and established a system of genetic analysis. In turn, this groundwork enabled the potential of Pseudomonas in human disease, plant disease, biotechnology and aspects of the environment to be realised and exploited. The importance of P. aeruginosa in cystic fibrosis has stimulated an understanding of pathogenicity and virulence for human bacterial pathogens in general. All aspects of Pseudomonas research have been greatly enhanced following the introduction of genomic techniques in more recent years.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPseudomonas - Volume 7: New Aspects of Pseudomonas Biology
EditorsJuan-Luis Ramos, Johanna B Goldberg, Alain Filloux
Place of PublicationDordrecht The Netherlands
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9789401795555
ISBN (Print)9789401795548
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Historical perspective
  • Pseudomonas genetics
  • Pseudomonas taxonomy
  • Pseudomonas variability
  • Pseudomonas plasmids
  • Pseudomonas patents
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Pre-genomic era
  • Genomic era
  • R68.45

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