In the following pages I have endeavoured to arrange briefly and concisely the various methods at present in use for the study of bacteria, and the elucidation of such points in their life-histories as are debatable or still undetermined.
Of these methods, some are new, others are not; but all are reliable, only such having been included as are capable of giving satisfactory results even in the hands of beginners. In fact, the bulk of the matter is simply an elaboration of the typewritten notes distributed to some of my laboratory classes in practical and applied bacteriology; consequently an attempt has been made to present the elements of bacteriological technique in their logical sequence.
I make no apology for the space devoted to illustrations, nearly all of which have been prepared especially for this volume; for a picture, if good, possesses a higher educational value and conveys a more accurate impression than a page of print; and even sketches of apparatus serve a distinct purpose in suggesting to the student those alterations and modifications which may be rendered necessary or advisable by the character of his laboratory equipment.
The excellent and appropriate terminology introduced by Chester in his recent work on "Determinative Bacteriology" I have adopted in its entirety, for I consider it only needs to be used to convince one of its extreme utility, whilst its inclusion in an elementary manual is calculated to induce in the student habits of accurate observation and concise description.
With the exception of Section XVII—"Outlines for the Study of Pathogenic Bacteria"—introduced with the idea of completing the volume from the point of view of the medical and dental student, the work has been arranged to allow of its use as a laboratory guide by the technical student generally, whether of brewing, dairying, or agriculture.
So alive am I to its many inperfections that it appears almost superfluous to state that the book is in no sense intended as a rival to the many and excellent manuals of bacteriology at present in use, but aims only at supplementing the usually scanty details of technique, and at instructing the student how to fit up and adapt apparatus for his daily work, and how to carry out thoroughly and systematically the various bacterioscopical analyses that are daily demanded of the bacteriologist by the hygienist.