Why is Microbiology Important To Us?
Microbiology is the branch of science that deals with the study of the various unicellular, multicellular, and acellular microorganisms which are invisible to our naked eyes. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, a Dutch scientist was the first person to conduct these studies by developing his own microscope and hence, he is known as the “Father of Microbiology”. The further development of this branch happened in the 19th century. A French microbiologist, Louis Pasteur, for his discoveries on pasteurization and vaccination, hence, made him the “Father of Modern Microbiology”.
Microorganisms are present in and around us in large quantities. While some are good for our health, some can cause serious diseases and infections in us. Thus, microbiology is a very important field which helps in the various sectors of the economy. You can also say that finding a sector in which microbiology is not made use of is very difficult in the current scenario.
Microbiology in the Environment
Environmental microbiology is the study of the various microorganisms present in the environment, including soil, water, and air. The microbes in the soil are responsible for decaying the dead organisms and thus clearing them from the surface of the earth. Microbes also help in the treatment of wastewater by promoting the decay of all the garbage from the water resources.
Microbiology in the Agriculture
Agriculture is one of the main sectors benefitted from microbiology. Microbes help in the decomposition of the toxic materials from the soil and hence prevent the toxin accumulation. Many natural pesticides are also manufactured using various bacteria and virus. The environmental impact due to these pesticides is very less compared to the other chemicals.
Farmers also produce natural manure for the crops with the help of microbes. The microbes like algae and bacteria help to enhance the fertility of the soil by fixing its nitrogen capacity. Crop rotation is also a technique adopted in the field of agriculture wherein microbes are used in the roots of the leguminous plants to improve the fertility of the soil.
Microbiology in the Medicine
The discovery of the various medicines to cure the deadly diseases would not have been possible without the help of microbes. Without the help of microbiology, the doctors would not have had any idea on what type of medicine has to be given to combat the infections in a patient. Antibiotics like Streptomycin, insulin, growth hormone, etc., are also manufactured with the help of different kinds of bacteria. All the new drugs which are being developed in the medical field have all become possible with the help of microorganisms.
The sterilization of the surgical knives and needles are also done to eliminate the presence of microbes from them. Microbiology also helps the doctors and nurses to understand the ways to handle a patient with infectious diseases. The various tests like Elisa, electrophoresis, and radioimmune assay, etc., all use the principles of microbiology to identify the type of disease.
Microbiology in the Food Industry
Microbes are mainly used in the food industry for the process of fermentation. Various scrumptious food products like yogurt and cheese are also prepared with the help of microorganisms like bacteria.
Microbiology in Biotechnology
The movement of genes from one organism to the other, isolating the DNA, etc., happen with the help of bacteria. Microbes play a very important role in all the cellular functions of our body.
There are also various other subdisciplines of microbiology which include:
- Bacteriology – the study of bacteria
- Microbial Physiology – the study of the microbial cell functions
- Veterinary microbiology – the study of the role of microbes in veterinary medicine
- Mycology – the study of fungi
- Virology – the study of viruses
Microbes also play an important role in our body. Though all the microorganisms are not good for our body, there are also microbes which help in enhancing our immunity system. The various vitamins necessary for our bodies like vitamin B12 and vitamin K are also released with the help of these microorganisms. Moreover, these organisms prevent the entry of other harmful microorganisms into our body.
Microbiology, is hence, a branch of science which plays a crucial role in our economic progress. Economic development happens only in places with a healthy population. The presence of an unhealthy population also affects the productivity of the economy. Hence, to keep the society strong and healthy, it is necessary to identify the type of diseases and infections prevalent in each person. Microbiology is the only science which can help you to eradicate the terminal diseases from the environment and maintain the quality of our lives.