The Scope And Relevance Of Microbiology

We live in the age of bacteria. They are the first living organisms over earth and found virtually everywhere life is possible. Furthermore, the whole biosphere depend on their activities, and they influence the human society as well in countless ways.

Because microorganisms play such diverse roles, modern microbiology is a large discipline play such diverse roles, modern microbiology is a large discipline with many different specialties. It has a great impact on fields such as medicine, agriculture and food science, ecology, genetics, biochemistry, and molecular biology. One indication of the importance of microbiology is the Nobel Prize given for work in physiology or medicine. About one-third of these are have been awarded to scientists working on microbiological problems.

Microbiology has both basic and applied aspect. The basic aspect are concerned with the biology of microorganisms themselves and include such fields as bacteriology, virology, mycology, phycology or algology, protozoology, microbial cytology and physiology, microbial genetics and molecular biology, microbial ecology and microbial taxonomy.

The applied aspects are concerned with particular problems such as disease, water and wastewater treatment, food spoilage and food production, and industrial uses of microbes. It is important to know basic and applied aspects are intertwined. One of the most important field of microbiology is medical microbiology, which deals with the diseases of human and animals. Medical microbiologists identify the agents causing infectious diseases and plan measures for their control and elimination. Frequently they are involved in identifying of new and unidentified microbes. These microbiologists also study the ways in which microorganisms cause disease.

Public Health Microbiology

It is closely related to medical microbiology. Public health microbiologists try to identify and control the spread of communicable diseases.


It is concerned with hoe the immune system protects the body from pathogens and the response of infectious agents. It is one of the fastest growing areas in science; for example, techniques for the production and use of monoclonal antibodies,  techniques for the production and use of monoclonal antibodies have developed extremely rapidly. immunology also deals with practical health problems such as the nature and treatment of  allergies and autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis.

Agriculture Microbiology

It is concerned with the impact of microorganisms on agriculture. Agricultural microbiologists try to combat plant diseases that attack important food crops,  work on methods to increase soil fertility and crop yields, and study the role of microorganisms living in the digestive tracts of ruminants such as cattle. Currently there is great interest in using bacterial and viral insect pathogens as substitutes for chemical pesticides.

Microbial Ecology

It is concerned with the relationships between microorganisms and the components of their living and non living habitats. Microbial ecologists study the global and local contributions of microorganisms to the carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur cycles. The study of pollution effects on microorganisms also is important because of the impact these organisms have on the environment.

Scientists working in food and dairy microbiology try to prevent microbial spoilage of food and the transmission of food borne diseases such as botulism and salmonellosis. addition to it, they also use microorganisms to make foods such as cheeses, yogurts, pickles, and beet. 

Microbial Genetics And Molecular Biology

Focus on the nature of genetic information and how it regulates the development and function of cells and organisms. The use of microorganisms has been very helpful in understanding gene structure and function. Microbial genetics play an important orle in applied microbiology because they develop techniques that are useful in agricultural microbiology, industrial microbiology, food and dairy microbiology, and medicine.

Reference: Microbiology, Pelczar

Gaurav Singh

Editor in Chief Medical Microbiology & Recombinant DNA Technology (RDT) Labs - RDT Labs Magazine

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