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A lesser known world of biology (to physicians) is the remarkable business of putting microorganisms to work. New polyenes from Streptomyces (effective against fungi), the Italian work with rifamycins (inhibitory against gram-positive bacteria and mycobacteria), actinomycin biosynthesis, research into amylolytic enzymes, and the microbiology of fish preservatives (with significant socioeconomic implications on food availability) are discussed in detail. Other subjects are more industrial and less medical in interest.