Interest in the factors controlling the spread of pathogenic bacteria in both human and animal populations has led, in recent years, to the development of various techniques for the characterization of isolates from epidemics. These take many forms. Biochemical tests, serological analysis, phage and bacterocin typing are particularly important. Volumes 10-13 of Methods in Microbiology collect together, for the first time, the methods used in identifying all major human and animal pathogenic bacteria of epidemiological importance. The attention to practical detail will enable the methods to be followed in the laboratory, and it is hoped that this will lead to increased uniformity of methods around the world.These volumes will be of value to workers in epidemiology, clinicians working in infectious disease clinics, microbiologists concerned with environmental health and general microbiologists wanting an insight into current thinking and practice concerning the identification of bacteria at the species and sub-species level.