This volume marks 70 years of Annual Review of Microbiology. In Volume 1 (1947), the Editors wrote that Annual Review of Biochemistry (first published in 1932) and Annual Review of Physiology (since 1939) had been of great value and therefore the need for a similar publication on microbiology had been investigated. The first volume contained articles on antibiotics and antigenic variation, among others. A review in Volume 3 on “The Growth of Bacterial Cultures,” by J. Monod, currently ranks number 2 on the list of most cited reviews from Annual Review of Microbiology. By year 30, in 1976, a review on “The Conquest of Major Infectious Diseases in the United States” showed how much had been accomplished in the previous decades, but looking back at that list of diseases (including tuberculosis, cholera, and yellow fever, which are in the news as this volume is being produced) reminds us that this conquest, if only in the United States, is never going to be sufficient. Another review in the same volume, “Microbiology of the Foot,” presaged the current interest in the microbiome and the ability of microbes to be nonpathogenic in one location but problem pathogens elsewhere.
Eleven years later, in Volume 41, came the first review of biofilms anywhere (at least as far as PubMed is concerned), by Costerton and coauthors. We continue this record of influential reviews of important and developing microbiology in this volume and future ones. Most entertaining for me is that this whole rich history is available online to browse through.
This volume was planned on a very rainy weekend in La Jolla, California, and I thank all of the members of the Editorial Committee; our guest for that meeting, Forest Rohwer; and Leslie Parker, our Production Editor.