Immunologic Techniques, Microbial Control and Therapeutics

Immunological techniques include both experimental methods to study the immune system and methods to generate or use immunological reagents as experimental tools. The most common immunological methods relate to the production and use of antibodies to detect specific proteins in biological samples. Various laboratory techniques exist that rely on the use of antibodies to visualize components of microorganisms or other cell types and to distinguish one cell or organism type from another. Immunologic techniques are used for: Quantitating and detecting antibodies and/or antigens, Purifying immunoglobulins, lymphokines and other molecules of the immune system, Isolating antigens and other substances important in immunological processes, Labelling antigens and antibodies, Localizing antigens and/or antibodies in tissues and cells, Detecting, and fractionating immunocompetent cells, Assaying for cellular immunity, Documenting cell-cell interactions, Initiating immunity and unresponsiveness, Transplanting tissues, Studying items closely related to immunity such as complement, reticuloendothelial system and others, Molecular techniques for studying immune cells and their receptors, Imaging of the immune system, Methods for production or their fragments in eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells.

Control of microbial growth, as used here, means to inhibit or prevent growth of microorganisms. This control is achieved in two basic ways: (1) by killing microorganisms or (2) by inhibiting the growth of microorganisms. Control of growth usually involves the use of physical or chemical agents which either kill or prevent the growth of microorganisms. Agents which kill cells are called cidal agents; agents which inhibit the growth of cells (without killing them) are referred to as static agents. Thus, the term bactericidal refers to killing bacteria, and bacteriostatic refers to inhibiting the growth of bacterial cells. A bactericide kills bacteria, a fungicide kills fungi, and so on. In microbiology, sterilization refers to the complete destruction or elimination of all viable organisms in or on a substance being sterilized. There are no degrees of sterilization: an object or substance is either sterile or not. Sterilization procedures involve the use of heat, radiation or chemicals, or physical removal of cells.

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