Friday, 28 December 2018

The field of Microbiology and its Research Specialties

Microbiology is now an advanced scientific field, focusing on the study of various microscopic organisms like fungus, bacteria, virus, etc. Microbiology is used largely for research and diagnostic lab studies, which covers all aspects of microorganisms like the evolution, ecology, behavior, physiology, and biochemistry alongside the pathology of various diseases caused by these organisms.

A guest post by Anthony Karen

The primitive form of today’s advanced microscopes was developed during the 17th century, from where microbiology evolved as a specialty. It was Anton von Leeuwenhoek who first published observations about bacteria. Microbiology also disproved a long-existed theory called ‘spontaneous generation.’ The belief was that all living things evolved spontaneously from a combination of various organic and inorganic ingredients. For example, people once believed that the mice evolve from soiled cloth in combination with wheat.

Further, the 20th century witnessed a huge advancement in microbiology, when antibiotics and vaccines were invented, and the man started using chemotherapeutic agents in the treatment of bacterial diseases. Later, DNA was found to be the primary genetic element of cell formation, which further paved way to exploring the genomes of various microorganisms.

Different microbiology branches

  • Bacteriology – it is the study of different types of bacteria. 
  • Immunology – Study of immune systems of living organisms. It has a close relation with the pathology of viruses and bacteria as well as their hosts. 
  • Mycology – Study of fungus-like mold or yeast. 
  • Nematology – Branch of the study of nematodes or roundworms. 
  • Phycology – Study of algae. 
  • Parasitology – Parasites as the name suggest. However, all types of parasites are not microorganisms. Bacteriology covers the study of bacterial parasites. 
  • Protozoology – Study of single-celled organisms (amoebae etc.) 
  • Virology – Study of the virus. 
Microbiology research

Likely to any other field of science, microbiology research can also be divided into a couple of categories. The primary variations are pure microbiology and applied microbiology. The objective of basic research is to understand the core of a scientific phenomenon whereas applied microbiology focuses on the specialist information derived from basic research and use it to find answers for specific questions and resolve problems.

Pure research specialties are:
  • Evolutionary microbiology – Study about the evolution of various microorganisms. 
  • Cellular microbiology - Study of microbial cell structure and functions. 
  • Astro-microbiology - Study of life on earth and its origin and also extraterrestrial life if any. 
  • Systems microbiology – Computational (mathematical) modeling of the microbiological systems and activities. 
Other pure microbiology research specialties also include but not limited to microbial ecology, microbial physiology, and microbial genetics, etc.

Applied microbiology research specialties include:
  • Medical microbiology – Role of microorganisms in human diseases.
  • Food Microbiology - Study of microbial activities in spoiling and preserving food items. It also studies the food-borne illnesses. It is used in food production effectively as fermentation of beer etc. 
  • Agricultural microbiology – Interaction of microorganisms with corps, plants, and soil. 
  • Microbial biotechnology – Usage of microbes in consumer production and industrial purposes. 
  • Pharmaceutical microbiology - Microorganisms in pharmaceutical products like antibiotics, vaccines, and other therapeutic products. 
Microbiology is a consistently growing scientific specialty, which is mighty enough to unveil many more hidden secrets about life on Earth, other planets, and also to better control diseases and contribute towards better living conditions.

Author Bio: Anthony Karen is a health expert who has been running many health seminars and public discussions. She also manages her blog and reviews the health-related details provided by authentic sources.

Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources

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