In the year1676 Anton Van Leeuwenhoek mentioned the microbial world by his simple microscope. It was merely after the invention of compound microscope by Hooke in the year1820, that bacteria came to the lime light. These very small creatures were designated as “Infusorial animalcules” or “small microscopic species”.

Louis Pasteur (1822-95) made a complete detailed study of bacteria and mentioned germ theory of disease. Robert Koch, a German microbiologist, was the former scientist to prove the cause and effect relationship among microbes and animal diseases.

Ehrenberg (1829) was the first to utilize the word bacterium. The branch of study which deals with bacteria is termed as Bacteriology. The bacteria are unicellular organisms and they are prokaryotic that is, they do not contain a membrane bound nucleus and organelles.


Bacteria are omnipresent in nature. They are found in all atmospheres, where organic matter existed. They are found in water, air, soil and as well in or on the bodies of animals and plants. A number of bacteria live as commensals (Example: Escherichia coli in human intestine) and several live as symbionts (Example: Rhizobium) in the root nodules of leguminous plants. Numerous of them cause diseases in animals, plants, and human beings.


Bacteria are very minute, most being around 0.5 to 1 micron in diameter and around 3 to 5 microns in length.

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