Friday, 17 October 2014

Microbiology and Its Extensive Usage

Microbiology refers to the study of micro-organisms which can either be unicellular or cell cluster based microscopic organisms. Prime examples of these are eukaryotes like fungi, prokaryotes and protists. Viruses are studied as well. For a common man, microbiology refers to the study of life and organisms which are too small to be studied by our naked eyes. It also includes immunology which is the study of immune system.

The word microbiology has its origin from the combination of the Greek words 'mikros' which means small and 'bios' which means life. The immune system is known to interact with microbes (pathogenic). Microbiology and immunology are often paired as these disciplines frequently intersect each other.

The ever advancing field of microbiology was first discovered around the start of 17 th century but is relatively new as compared to other disciplines of biology.

Pioneers of the Field:

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek and Robert Hooke were the earliest known microbiologists to observe bacteria and other related microorganisms. However, Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch are considered the pioneers of modern microbiology.

Sub-divisions of Microbiology:

Microbiology is divided into many sub-disciplines as follows.

• Cellular microbiology (combination of microbiology and cell biology)

• Medical microbiology (study of pathogenic microbes related to diseases)

• Environmental microbiology (study of function of microbes in natural environments)

• Veterinary microbiology (study of microbes in veterinary medicines)

• Evolutionary microbiology (study of evolution of microbes)

• Industrial microbiology ( usage of microbes for industrial purposes)

Apart from these there are many other fields like microbial physiology, aero microbiology, microbial genetics, food microbiology, agricultural microbiology and many sub-disciplines as well.

Benefits of Microbiology:

No doubt microbes are related to human illnesses, but there are many microbes which are advantageous to human beings. Industrial fermentation which involves the production of alcohol, dairy products and vinegar is one of the most popular ways wherein microbes are utilized. Antibiotic production also involves microbes.

Scientists and researchers have been able to produce enzymes for their usage in genetic systems. Enzymes which are biotechnologically important include Taq polymerase and even reporter genes. Bacteria are used for the production of amino acids. Microorganisms produce biopolymers which are extensively used. Microorganisms are also used for biosynthesis and microbial biodegradation.

With only 1 percent of all microbes' related species being studied, the scope of microbiology is huge and its study and research is leading the field to new horizons.

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