Microbiology - High School

You won't sweat the small stuff once you master these words related to microbiology. Learn about bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms, and review parts of cells, immunology, and relationships such as symbiosis and parasitism. You'll definitely want to put this vocabulary list under the microscope!
111 words 311 learners

Learn words with Flashcards and other activities

Full list of words from this list:

  1. acellular
    not made up of or divided into cells
  2. aerobic
    depending on free oxygen or air
  3. agar
    any culture medium that uses agar as the gelling agent
  4. algae
    primitive chlorophyll-containing aquatic organisms
  5. allergen
    any substance that can cause an allergy
  6. allergy
    hypersensitive immunological reaction to some substance
  7. amoeba
    a single-celled organism that lives in water or soil
  8. anaerobic
    not using or dependent on oxygen
  9. antibacterial
    destroying or inhibiting microscopic living organisms
  10. antibiotic
    a substance used to kill microorganisms and cure infections
  11. antibody
    a protein that produces an immune response
  12. antifungal
    any agent that destroys or prevents the growth of fungi
  13. antigen
    any substance that stimulates an immune response in the body
  14. antimicrobial
    capable of destroying or inhibiting the growth of disease-causing microorganisms
  15. antiseptic
    thoroughly clean and free of disease-causing organisms
  16. archaebacteria
    considered ancient life forms that evolved separately from bacteria and blue-green algae
  17. attenuated
    reduced in strength
  18. bacillus
    aerobic rod-shaped spore-producing bacterium
  19. bacteria
    single-celled organisms that can cause disease
  20. bacteriology
    the branch of medical science that studies bacteria in relation to disease
  21. bacteriophage
    a virus that is parasitic (reproduces itself) in bacteria
  22. capsid
    the outer covering of protein surrounding the nucleic acid of a virus
  23. capsule
    a structure that encloses a body part
  24. carrier
    someone who has a pathogen that can be passed on to others
  25. cell
    the basic structural and functional unit of all organisms
  26. cell membrane
    a thin membrane enclosing the cytoplasm of a cell
  27. cell wall
    a rigid layer of polysaccharides enclosing a plant membrane
  28. chitin
    component of arthropods' exoskeletons and bodies of fungi
  29. cocci
    any spherical or nearly spherical bacteria
  30. colony
    a group of organisms grown from a single parent cell
  31. commensalism
    when one organism benefits from another without damaging it
  32. contagious
    (of disease) capable of being spread by infection
  33. culture
    the growing of microorganisms in a nutrient medium
  34. cytoplasm
    the substance inside a cell, not including the nucleus
  35. decompose
    break down
  36. diatom
    microscopic unicellular marine or freshwater colonial alga having cell walls impregnated with silica
  37. diplococcus
    Gram-positive bacteria usually occurring in pairs
  38. disinfect
    destroy microorganisms or pathogens by cleansing
  39. DNA
    material that carries genetic information in a cell
  40. endospore
    a small asexual spore that develops inside the cell of some bacteria and algae
  41. endotoxin
    a toxin that is confined inside the microorganisms and is released only when the microorganisms are broken down or die
  42. epidemic
    a widespread outbreak of an infectious disease
  43. epidemiology
    science dealing with the transmission and control of disease
  44. eubacteria
    a large group of bacteria having rigid cell walls
  45. eukaryote
    an organism of one or more cells with membrane-bound nuclei
  46. exotoxin
    a toxin that is secreted by microorganisms into the surrounding medium
  47. flagellum
    a lash-like appendage used for locomotion
  48. fungicide
    any agent that destroys or prevents the growth of fungi
  49. fungus
    a spore-producing organism that lacks chlorophyll
  50. germicide
    an agent (as heat or radiation or a chemical) that destroys microorganisms that might carry disease
  51. Gram-positive
    (of bacteria) being or relating to a bacterium that retains the violet stain used in Gram's method
  52. Gram's method
    a staining technique used to classify bacteria
  53. host
    an animal or plant that nourishes and supports a parasite
  54. hypha
    any of the threadlike filaments forming the mycelium of a fungus
  55. immune system
    the cells in the body that work together to fight disease
  56. immunity
    the condition in which an organism can resist disease
  57. immunology
    the branch of medical science that studies the body's immune system
  58. infection
    the invasion of the body by pathogenic microorganisms
  59. infectious
    relating to the invasion of germs that cause disease
  60. lymphocyte
    an agranulocytic leukocyte that normally makes up a quarter of the white blood cell count but increases in the presence of infection
  61. medium
    a nutrient substance used to cultivate micro-organisms
  62. microbe
    a minute life form, especially one that causes disease
  63. microbiology
    the study of very small forms of life
  64. microorganism
    any organism of microscopic size
  65. microscope
    magnifier of the image of small objects
  66. motility
    ability to move spontaneously and independently
  67. multicellular
    consisting of many basic structural and functional units
  68. mutualism
    the relation between two organisms that benefit each other
  69. mycelium
    the vegetative part of a fungus consisting of a mass of branching threadlike hyphae
  70. mycology
    the scientific study of fungi
  71. nucleus
    a part of the cell responsible for growth and reproduction
  72. organism
    a living thing that can act or function independently
  73. pandemic
    an outbreak of disease that is geographically widespread
  74. paramecium
    a freshwater ciliate protozoan
  75. parasite
    an animal or plant that lives in or on a host
  76. parasitism
    when one organism benefits from another by causing damage
  77. pathogen
    any disease-producing agent
  78. pilus
    any of the cylindrical filaments characteristically growing from the epidermis of a mammal
  79. plasmid
    a small cellular inclusion consisting of a ring of DNA that is not in a chromosome but is capable of autonomous replication
  80. prion
    an infectious protein particle lacking DNA or RNA
  81. probiotic
    a beneficial bacterium found in the intestinal tract of healthy mammals; often considered to be a plant
  82. prokaryote
    a unicellular organism lacking a membrane-bound nucleus
  83. protist
    free-living or colonial organisms with diverse nutritional and reproductive modes
  84. protozoan
    any of diverse minute acellular or unicellular organisms usually nonphotosynthetic
  85. pseudopod
    temporary outgrowth of a cell used for locomotion or feeding
  86. replication
    the process whereby DNA makes a copy of itself
  87. retrovirus
    any of a group of viruses that contain two single-strand linear RNA molecules per virion and reverse transcriptase (RNA to DNA); the virus transcribes its RNA into a cDNA provirus that is then incorporated into the host cell
  88. ribosome
    a particle in a cell that helps synthesize proteins
  89. rickettsia
    any of a group of very small rod-shaped bacteria that live in biting arthropods (as ticks and mites) and cause disease in vertebrate hosts; they cause typhus and other febrile diseases in human beings
  90. saprophyte
    an organism that feeds on dead organic matter especially a fungus or bacterium
  91. sepsis
    the presence of pus-forming bacteria or their toxins in the blood or tissues
  92. septicemia
    invasion of the bloodstream by virulent microorganisms from a focus of infection
  93. spirilla
    any flagellated aerobic bacteria having a spirally twisted rodlike form
  94. spore
    a small usually single-celled asexual reproductive body produced by many nonflowering plants and fungi and some bacteria and protozoans and that are capable of developing into a new individual without sexual fusion
  95. sporozoan
    parasitic spore-forming protozoan
  96. staphylococcus
    spherical Gram-positive parasitic bacteria that tend to form irregular colonies; some cause boils or septicemia or infections
  97. sterilization
    the procedure of making some object free of live bacteria or other microorganisms (usually by heat or chemical means)
  98. sterilize
    make free from bacteria
  99. streptococcus
    spherical Gram-positive bacteria occurring in pairs or chains; cause e.g. scarlet fever and tonsillitis
  100. symbiosis
    the relation between two interdependent species of organisms
  101. T cell
    a small lymphocyte developed in the thymus
  102. toxin
    a poisonous substance produced organically
  103. transduction
    (genetics) the process of transfering genetic material from one cell to another by a plasmid or bacteriophage
  104. transmission
    an incident in which an infectious disease is carried
  105. unicellular
    having a single basic functional unit, of an organism
  106. vaccine
    injection of weakened or dead microbes to create antibodies
  107. vector
    any agent that carries and transmits a disease
  108. viroid
    the smallest of viruses
  109. virology
    the study of infectious agents and the diseases they cause
  110. virus
    infectious agent that replicates itself within living hosts
  111. white blood cell
    blood cells that engulf and digest bacteria and fungi
Created on February 9, 2017 (updated April 10, 2017)

Sign up now (it’s free!)

Whether you’re a teacher or a learner, can put you or your class on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.