Outlines of dairy bacteriology A concise manual for the use of students in dairying

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Language: English
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Relation of bacteriology to dairying. The arts which have been developed by mankind have been the outgrowth of experience. Man first learned by doing, how to perform these various activities, and a scientific knowledge of the underlying principles which govern these processes was later developed.

The art of dairying has been practiced from time immemorial, but a correct understanding of the fundamental principles on which the practice of dairying rests is of recent origin. In working out these principles, chemistry has been of great service, but in later years, bacteriology has also been most successfully applied to the problems of modern dairying. Indeed, it may be said that the science of dairying, as related to the problems of dairy manufacture is, in large degree, dependent upon an understanding of bacteriological principles. It is therefore essential that the student of dairying, even though he is concerned in large measure with the practical aspects of the subject, should acquire as complete an understanding of these principles as possible.

While bacteriology is concerned primarily with the activities of those microscopic forms of plant life known as the bacteria, yet the general principles governing the life of this particular class of organisms are sufficiently similar to those governing the molds and other types of microscopic life that affect milk and its products to make it possible to include all of these types in a general consideration of the subject.

Nature of bacteria. The vegetable kingdom to which the bacteria belong consists of plants of the most varying size and nature. Those of most common acquaintance are the green plants varying in size from those not visible to the naked eye to the largest trees. Another class of plants known as fungi or fungous plants do not contain chlorophyll, the green coloring matter, but are usually colorless and, as a rule, of small size; among them are included such forms as the mushrooms, smuts, rusts and mildews, as well as the molds and yeasts. The bacteria are closely allied to this latter class. When first discovered they were thought to be animals because of the ability of some forms to move about in liquids.

The bacteria, like other kinds of living organisms, possess a definite form and shape. They are the simplest in structure of all the plants, the individual organism consisting of a single cell. The larger and more highly organized forms of life are made up of many microscopic cells, and the life of the individual consists of the work of all the cells. The bacteria are very comparable to the single cells of the higher plants and animals, but in the case of the bacteria the single cell is able to exist apart from all other cells and to carry out all of its life processes including reproduction.

Forms of bacteria. With the multicellular organisms much variation in form is possible, but with these single-celled organisms the possible variation in form is greatly limited. Three well marked types occur among the bacteria: the round or coccus form (plural cocci); the rod-shaped or bacillus (plural bacilli); and the twisted or spirillum type (plural spirilla). Most organisms of special significance in dairying belong to the coccus or bacillus group.

Size of bacteria. The bacteria, as a class, are among the smallest of living objects. None of them are individually visible to the naked eye, and they can be so seen only when clumps or masses are formed in the process of growth.

Fig.1.—Forms of Bacteria.
A, coccus; B, bacillus; C, spirillum.

While there is considerable relative variation in size, yet in actual dimensions, this difference is so small as to make careful microscopic determinations necessary. An average diameter may be taken as about one thirty-thousandth of an inch, while the length varies naturally several fold, depending upon whether the type under observation is a coccus or a bacillus.

It is very difficult to conceive of the minuteness of the bacteria; the following may give some idea of their size. In a drop of cream ready for churning may be found as many as 10,000,000 and in a piece of fresh cheese as large as a cherry there may be as many living bacteria as there are people on our earth. While the bacteria are very minute, the effect which they exert in milk and other dairy products is great on account of their enormous numbers.

Manner of growth. The cells of which all plants and animals consist increase in numbers by the division of each cell into two cells through the formation of a division wall across the cell....