The Viruses

  • Aleardo Zaccheo
  • Eleonora Palmaccio
  • Morgan Venable
  • Isabella Locarnini-Sciaroni
  • Salvatore Parisi


Viruses are probably the oldest, smallest, and certainly the most numerous and diverse organisms on Earth. Although they generate a general “sentiment of fear and loathing”, all living organisms are “linked by their universal ability to be infected by viruses”, but viruses are not just pathogens, because Viruses also controls pathogens by keeping “fast- growing bacterial populations” in check. Besides exerting a major “selective pressure on all life forms” viruses “shape the evolution of other organisms” by driving and testing the immune systems, where they increase their own reproductive fitness by boosting host fitness. Viruses are capable to “exert indirect evolutionary pressures on ecosystems”, but are “major drivers of global biochemical cycles” and “multitrophic symbioses”.


Virus Bacteriophage Phages Prokaryotes Genomes Lateral and horizontal gene transfer Biochemical cycles Endosymbiotic bacteria Multitrophic symbioses 


  1. 24.
    Beck R (2000) Chronology of microbiology in historical context. In: A chronology of microbiology in historical context. ASM Press, Washington, DC, pp 1–335. doi: 10.1128/9781555818081.ch1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 49.
    Greene SE, Reid A (eds) (2013) Viruses throughout life and time: friends, foes, change agents. Viruses throughout life and time-friends, foes, change agents, July 2013, San Francisco, CA. American Academy of Microbiology, Washington, DC, pp 1–28Google Scholar
  3. 50.
    Reid A, Buckley M (eds) (2011) Microbial evolution. A colloquium report from the American Academy of Microbiology, August 28–30, 2009, San Cristobal, Ecuador. American Academy of Microbiology, Washington, DC, pp 1–20Google Scholar
  4. 51.
    FDA, Food and Drug Administration (2012) Bad bug book, foodborne pathogenic microorganisms and natural toxins. In: Viruses, 2nd ed, pp 165–187. Chapter 3. Accessed 20 July 2013
  5. 52.
    Jay JM, Loessner MJ, Golden DA (2005) Modern food microbiology. In: Viruses and some other proven and suspected foodborne biohazards, 7th edn. Springer, New York, pp 727–740, Chapter 31Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aleardo Zaccheo
    • 1
  • Eleonora Palmaccio
    • 1
  • Morgan Venable
    • 2
  • Isabella Locarnini-Sciaroni
    • 3
  • Salvatore Parisi
    • 4
  1. 1.bioethica food safety engineering sagl.Lugano-PregassonaSwitzerland
  2. 2.Consultant Registered DieticianMedegliaSwitzerland
  3. 3.Salumificio Sciaroni S.A.SementinaSwitzerland
  4. 4.Industrial ConsultantPalermoItaly

Personalised recommendations