Microbial Terminology

Singulars and Plurals

Singular

Plural

Singular

Plural

alga

algae

fungus

fungi

ameba

amebae

hydrolysis

hydrolyses

bacillus

bacilli

hypha

hyphae

bacterium

bacteria

inoculum

inocula

cilium

cilia

medium

media

clostridium

clostridia

mucosa

mucosae

coccus

cocci

mycelium

mycelia

conidium

conidia

mycosis

mycoses

datum

data

phylum

phyla

diagnos/s

diagnoses

pilus

pili

fimbria

fimbriae

nucleus

nuclei

flagellum

flagella

septum

septa

focus

foci

synthesis

syntheses

Meanings of Prefixes and Suffixes

Prefix or Suffix

Meaning

Example

a-, an-

not, without

avirulent (lacking virulence), anaerobic (without air)

aer-

air

aerobic

anti-

against

antiseptic

-ase

enzyme

penicillinase

chlor-

green

chlorophyll

-chrom-

color

metachromatic (staining differently with the same dye)

-cide

causing death

germicide

co-, com-, con-

together

coenzyme

-cyan-

blue

pyocyanin (a blue bacterial pigment)

de-

down, from

dehydrate (remove water)

-dem-

people, district

epidemic

endo-

within

endospore (spore within a cell)

-enter-

intestine

enteritis (inflammation of the intestine)

epi-

upon

epidermis

erythro-

red

erythocyte (red blood cell)

eu-

well, normal

eukaryotic (true nucleus)

exo-

outside

exoenzyme (enzyme that acts outside the cell that produced it)

Appendix II Microbial Terminology

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