W. B. Hugo and A. D. Russell, Eds Blackwell Science, Oxford, 1998. ISBN 0-632-04196-X. £39.50.
‘ Hugo and Russell’ is one of the core textbooks for pharmacy undergraduate education in the UK. The focus of the book is the multifaceted area of overlap between the major sciences of microbiology and pharmacy. The reader commences with pure microbiology and progresses to its application in various aspects of pharmaceutical practice. Although relatively concise (at 510 pages) the coverage of the subject matter is comprehensive, and provides a valuable reference source for pharmacists and microbiologists at undergraduate level and beyond.
The sixth edition has both gained and lost one chapter, and has been updated and revised significantly. The new chapter on vaccination and immunization provides a useful link between those on the principles of immunity and the production of immunological products. The three main sections of the book are ‘The Biology of Microorganisms’ , ‘ Antimicrobial Agents’ and ‘Microbial Aspects of Pharmaceutical Processing’. Part 1 is fairly brief, but by necessity lays the foundations for understanding the later sections. The first two chapters of Part 2 provide an excellent review of anti-infective agents, dealing with antibiotics and their clinical use. I recollect a number of years ago as a junior pharmacist pulling an early edition of this textbook off the shelf and finding this section particularly enlightening. Another useful chapter in Part 2 is that on chemical disinfectants, antiseptics and preservatives. Although unlikely to be embarked upon with great enthusiasm, it is of significant importance in the field of pharmaceutical processing, and provides the appropriate level of understanding for those involved in aseptic processing and quality assurance. Part 3 contains some good basic pharmaceutical science (such as the principles and practice of sterilization) and interesting more advanced material, such as recombinant DNA technology (fortunately with its own glossary). The only aspect I would have wished to receive greater attention is that of the control of contamination in aseptic processing, an aspect of pharmaceutical practice that has developed significantly in recent years.
Overall, the book is well written, interesting and clear, with useful tables and figures, and helpful further reading recommendations. It is well indexed and has some useful cross-references to British Standards. ‘Hugo and Russell’ is undoubtedly a valuable resource for junior pharmacists grasping an appreciation of microbiology, microbiologists entering the pharmaceutical field, and (the main focus for the first edition) undergraduate pharmacy students. In addition, it provides much useful information for pharmacists and technical staff entering into roles in pharmaceutical technology and quality assurance. This latest edition will be of benefit to those individuals working, training or teaching in the above fields, and will be a valuable resource in many university, hospital and pharmaceutical industry libraries.