Modern microbiology is a huge discipline having different specialized regions. This is because the whole ecosystem based on the activities of microorganisms and microorganisms affect human society in the countless ways. Microbiology has a huge impact on medicine, food science, agriculture, ecology, genetics, biochemistry and other fields.
Branches of Microbiology:
Microbiology comprised of two main branches:
Both the branches interlink and are complementary to one other.
Basic features of Microbiology:
The fundamental branch of microbiology is mainly concerned with the study of the biology of microorganisms. Fields of study here comprise:
1) Bacteriology: It is basically the study of bacteria.
2) Mycology: It is the study of fungi like molds, yeasts and mushrooms.
3) Algology: It is the study of algae.
4) Protozoology: It is the study of protozoa; a branch of protozoology termed as Parasitology deals completely by means of the parasite or disease-producing protozoa and other parasitic micro and macro organisms.
5) Microbial Cytology: It mainly studies the structures of microbial cells.
6) Microbial Physiology: It is the study of nutrients which microorganisms need for metabolism and growth and the products which they prepare from nutrients.
7) Microbial Genetics: It mainly focuses on the nature of genetic information in microorganisms and how it regulates the growth and functions of the cells and organisms.
8) Microbial Ecology: It is the study of microorganisms in their natural environment. It as well studies the global and local contribution to the nutrient cycling. Moreover, it employs microorganisms in the bioremediation to decrease pollution.
9) Microbial Taxonomy: It is the study of the categorization of microorganisms or the grouping of microorganisms.
10) Biochemistry: It mainly deals with the discovery of microbial enzymes and the chemical reactions which is carried out.
Applied Aspects of Microbiology:
The applied feature of microbiology mainly deals with the practical application of microorganisms to resolve problems associated to diseases, water and waste water treatment, food production and food spoilage. The different fields of study in applied microbiology comprise:
1) Medical Microbiology: It is the study of the causative agents of diseases, diagnostic methods for recognition of the causative agents and preventive measures.
2) Agricultural Microbiology: It is the study of microbial methods in the soil to promote plant growth. It comprises the study of soil microorganisms that has led to the discovery of antibiotics and other significant chemicals. It as well deals with the techniques of combating plant and animal diseases caused by microbes, methods of employing microbes to raise soil fertility and crop yields. Presently, much work is being done on employing bacterial and viral insect pathogens to replace the chemical pesticides.
3) Industrial Microbiology: This is the big scale growth of microorganisms for the production of medicinal products like vaccines and antibiotics; fermented beverages; industrial chemicals; production of hormones and proteins through genetically engineered microorganism.
4) Aquatic and Marine Microbiology: Marine and Aquatic Microbiology deals with the microbial methods in rivers, lakes and the oceans. It as well examines issues which concern water purification, microbiology assessment and biological degradation of waste.
5) Public Health Microbiology: This is closely associated to medical microbiology. It mainly deals with the recognition and the control of the spread of communicable diseases. It comprises monitoring of community food establishments and waste supplies so as to keep them safe and free from the infectious agents.
6) Immunology: It mainly deals by how the immune system protects the body from pathogens and the response of infectious agents. It as well comprises practical health problem like the nature and treatment of allergies auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
7) Food and Diary Microbiology: It mainly deals with the use of microbes to make foods like yoghurt, cheese, wine and beer. It as well deals with the techniques of preventing microbial spoilage of food and the transmission of food-borne diseases like Botulism and Salmonellosis. Microorganisms are as well employed as single cell protein, which is a significant source of protein or nutrients to livestock and humans.
8) Aeromicrobiology: Advances consideration in the dissemination of diseases in the air, contamination and spoilage.
9) Exomicrobiology: Looking for life in the outer space.
10) Geochemical Microbiology: Coal, mineral and gas formation; viewing for deposits of coal, oil and gas and recovery of minerals from the low-grade ores.
The Future of Microbiology:
There are numerous promising areas of microbiological research and their potential practical impacts in the future. These areas comprise combating new and re-emerging human diseases like HIV/AIDS, SARS, Poliomyelitis, Tuberculosis and so on. For this combat to be efficient there would be requirement for the production of latest drugs and vaccines. The utilization of molecular biology and recombinant DNA technology will be applied to provide solutions to these problems.
Microorganisms would be required for environmental bioremediation of pollutants that is on boost globally. Much work will as well be required to be done on microorganisms living in the extreme environments like to advance the growth of new antimicrobial agents, industrial methods and bioremediation. Analyses of genome and its actions will advance the field of bioinformatics and assist to investigate the biological problems.
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