News & Views

  • Why Is Microbiology Important?

Why Is Microbiology Important?

Jul 03 2015 Read 22217 Times

Microorganisms can be found in almost every natural element on the planet. The lives of humans, plants and animals are all intrinsically linked to the microbes that continually recycle key nutrients such as carbon and nitrogen, degrade organic matter and shape our day to day existence.

Want to know more about microbiology and the integral role it plays in our day to day lives? Read on for an overview of what it is, and why it matters.

What is microbiology?

Put simply, microbiology is the study of microorganisms. These include bacteria, protozoal parasites, viruses and fungi. Such organisms are so minute that they can only be viewed through a microscope. Yet while they may be invisible to the naked eye, microbes have a huge influence on the way we experience life. Scientists estimate that there are 5 million trillion, trillion microbial cells currently in existence on Earth. And no, that’s not a typo. 5 million trillion, trillion! In total, the amount of carbon held in these cells equates to that of every living plant on the planet.

Why does it matter?

Sure, the statistics behind microbes are mind-blowing but do they really matter? The answer is yes! Microorganisms affect the world in a myriad of different ways, some of which are outlined below.

  • Keeping the planet healthy

Microbes are essentially protectors of the planet, ensuring that minerals such as carbon and nitrogen are incessantly recycled. They play a crucial role in keeping the atmosphere oxygenated and also actively degrade dead organic matter, thus transforming organic carbon back into carbon dioxide.

  • Agriculture

When it comes to creating soils that can support crops and livestock, microbes are indispensable Studying microbiology helps farmers to optimise nitrate levels and maximise output.

  • Combating disease

Infectious diseases have the capacity to wipe out entire populations, and microbiology is the key to keeping outbreaks under control. The study of microscopic organisms allows scientist to develop antibiotics and vaccines, with revelations such as Alexander Flemming’s discovery of penicillin saving millions upon millions of lives.

  • Chemical products

From antibiotics and solvents to preservatives and pharmaceuticals, microbes are used to create a myriad of useful products that we take for granted. Uncovering these chemical reactions and retailing them as commercial goods shapes the face of life as we know it.

  • Biotechnology

Genetic engineering is an incredibly exciting revelation, and microbiology lies at the heart of the sphere. The scientific process of freely moving genes from one organism to another, isolating DNA and manipulating results is all hosted by bacteria. 

Microbiology has come a long way since it was first pioneered by Dutch draper and hobbyist glass grinder Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek in the 17th century. ‘A ‘Dyeing’ Art in Microbiology’ explores how the “Father of Microbiology" led us to discover the staining methods currently used in cytology, histology, haematology, microbiology and parasitology, 

Image via Wikipedia

Read comments0

Do you like or dislike what you have read? Why not post a comment to tell others / the manufacturer and our Editor what you think. To leave comments please complete the form below. Providing the content is approved, your comment will be on screen in less than 24 hours. Leaving comments on product information and articles can assist with future editorial and article content. Post questions, thoughts or simply whether you like the content.

Digital Edition

Lab Asia February 2019

February 2019

In this edition Articles - Detection of molecular markers in aquatic sediments by ion profi les obtained by GC/MS system - Fighting the Resistance: How Rapid Microbial ID with MALDI MS and A...

View all digital editions


BioPharma World Expo 2019

Feb 20 2019 Mumbai, India

Medical Fair India 2019

Feb 21 2019 New Delhi, India

Biotech World

Feb 25 2019 Moscow, Russia

China Lab 2019

Feb 26 2019 Guangzhou, China

SmartLab Exchange

Feb 27 2019 Berlin, Germany

View all events