Did you know, that in a human body there are trillions of microorganisms? They outnumber the human cells by 10 to 1. But they are vital for our health just as much as some are fatal to our health. In order to study them, you’ll have to open up the field of microbiology in science.
Let’s what exactly is microbiology and how many kinds of microorganisms are there in the world.
The Fundamentals of Microbiology
The branch of biology in science that deals with the study of microscopic organisms is known as microbiology. These are organisms that are unicellular (single-celled), contain a cluster of cells in their body, or have no cells at all.
These organisms can be prokaryotes as well as eukaryotes like protists, fungi, prions, bacteria, and viruses. Even though it is a branch of biology, microbiology is a broad term that includes the study of many microorganisms. Therefore, you can say that studies that include immunology, virology, bacteriology, parasitology, and mycology, all come under the umbrella of microbiology.
Types of Microorganisms
As mentioned before, microorganisms are essential for the human body as well as harmful. So, what kind of microorganisms are found in the world?
The types of microbes include:
Applications of Microbiology
Microbiologists are working day and night to make sense of these unicellular organisms and their use, benefit, and harm in the world. This information is applied in many fields of science. As we already know that there are countless microorganisms that affect all aspects of life, so how are they useful to us?
There are many diseases found in the world, which are the result of these unwanted organisms, but they are also quite useful. Applied microbiology is the application of these microbes in many endeavors of life, be it medicinal or commercial. The places where they can be understood and used are as follows:
⦁ Medical Microbiology
Yes, they are quite harmful to our body, especially if they enter our body from the outside. This is where medical microbiology comes into play. It is the study of microbes that have pathogenic qualities.
The prions, bacteria, and viruses that have a role in human illnesses are covered in this field. It also includes the study of microbial epidemiology and pathogenesis. The microbiologists study the disease pathology in this field as well as the human immune system towards these microbes in immunology.
⦁ Food and Dairy Microbiology
There are many microorganisms that are found in foods. They can be quite harmful and produce food-borne illnesses and even cause food spoilage. But, they are also used in producing many food products that are useful to our bodies.
One of the biggest examples of food microbes that are useful are the ones that make yogurt and yeast. They are both beneficial for the human body. Many food products are made with the use of microbes for example, by using the method of fermentation. This way many wines are manufactured.
⦁ Pharmaceutical Microbiology
As microorganisms produce diseases, they also help in curing them. Pharmaceutical microbiology is the study of microbes that are used in the production of medicines like antibiotics, vitamins, enzymes, vaccines, and other pharmaceutical products.
This field of microbiology also deals with the cause of pharmaceutical contamination and spoilage. Examples of medicines made with microbes are vaccines that are manufactured to inhibit viral infections, and an antibiotic called penicillin was created using the fungi Penicillium.
⦁ Industrial Microbiology
Like other fields, these microorganisms also have a lot of use in industries. These microorganisms are used in different industrial processes. Some examples of industrial usage of microorganisms include the process of fermentation and treatment of wastewater.
Industrial microbiology is used in the production of high-value products like chemicals, enzymes, amino acids, and many other food products. This field of microbiology is interconnected with biotechnology and includes brewing.
⦁ Agricultural Microbiology
When it comes to studying agricultural microbiology, you’ll find microbes in every aspect of agriculture, this is why it is important to further divide the agricultural microbes and study them in different fields. Agricultural microbiology is further divided into the following:
⦁ Environmental Microbiology
Agriculture is produced in a certain environment. To help in growing the finest food products, it is necessary to study the environmental microorganisms that are found in every agricultural environment and which microbes can turn out to be harmful to the plants.
This study contains the diversity and functions of microorganisms in their natural environment. This field includes the sub-fields of microbial ecology, water-microbiology, and geomicrobiology.
⦁ Veterinary Microbiology
There are many animals found in agricultural sites that help in the growth of food products. This is why the study of microbes in animal taxonomy and veterinary medicine is called veterinary microbiology.
⦁ Soil Microbiology
Soil plays a huge part in agricultural microbiology. There are diverse microorganisms found in the soil that helps in the growth of plants and other food products. The field that deals with the study of all these microorganisms found in the soil is called soil microbiology.
⦁ Plant Microbiology
Just like humans and animals, the plants also get affected by microbes and also find these microorganisms useful. The study that deals with these microorganisms and pathogens is known as plant microbiology.
With the diversity of useful and harmful microbes present in the world, different microbiologists work in the various branches of microbiology. Therefore, with the advancement of study in this field, the demand for microbiologists has increased quite a lot.