Microbiology is the study of microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, algae, and parasites. Microbiology is one of the most important fields in biology. The importance of microbiology is too high in every aspect of our everyday life such as in food science, environmental science, medical science, nursing, fisheries, pharmacy, and biotechnology. The application of microbiology in our daily life has brought a great change or development for us in healthcare and agriculture.
Importance of Microbiology:
1 .Importance of Microbiology in Food Industry:
Microorganisms involved in food microbiology include bacteria molds and yeasts. Bacteria mainly cause food intoxication and food spoilage thereby causing various human gut health diseases.
Several bacterial strains are used to produce a wide range of food and dairy products. These bacterial strains include Streptococcus thermophiles, Bifidobacterium sp, and Lactobacillus bulgaricus.
Lactic acid bacteria help in producing yogurt cheese, hot sauce, pickles, fermented sausages, and kimchi.
Molds are used to manufacture various food and food products. They help in ripening several types of food. Molds also help in producing enzymes and citric acid used in making bread and soft drinks respectively.
Yeasts are used in the food industry as they ferment sugar into ethanol and carbon dioxide.
A yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae is used to make bread, brew beer, and make wine.
Nisin is an antimicrobial agent derived from bacteria. It is used in cheese, meats, and beverages to preserve them by inhibiting the growth of detrimental microorganisms.
2. Importance of Microbiology in Medical Science.
Microorganisms can cause both benefit and harm to our human and animal cells. These microorganisms include virus, bacteria, fungus, and parasites. Medical Microbiology is important for several reasons.
Through the knowledge of medical microbiology, microbiologists can identify, isolate, diagnose, prevent pathogenic microorganisms. They also can engineer beneficial microorganisms to produce antimicrobial drugs.
The knowledge of microbiology helps microbiologists to innovate new methods to combat diseases.
Fluorescent fusion is a good example of medical microbiology, that helps in the rapid detection of pathogens in the tissue sample.
3. Importance of Microbiology in the pharmaceutical industry.
The discovery of antibiotics is one of the most important contributions of microbiology in the pharmaceutical industry. Antibiotics are the metabolic byproduct of microorganisms. The vaccine is also another important discovery of microbiology. The vaccine helps thousands of people by producing antibodies against the virus. Thus it prevents viral infection. For example, the Polio vaccine helps eradicate polio in many countries.
Phage therapy has also attracted great attention due to its killing potential against bacteria.
Steroids are also another pharmaceutical product produced by microorganisms. Prevention of microbial contamination of drugs, injectable, eye drops, nasal solutions, and inhalation products are also another important discoveries of microbiology.
One of the great examples of medical microbiology is the discovery of Insulin. Insulin is used for the treatment of diabetic patients. Insulin was derived from the β cell of pancreases. But it was not sufficient to satisfy the massive-demand for insulin. Recombinant DNA technology uses E. coli to produce a higher amount of insulin to control sugar concentration in diabetes patients.
4. Importance of Microbiology in nursing
The knowledge of microbiology in nursing is very important to control and prevent infection in the hospital. The knowledge of microbiology for the nurses and other health professionals in healthcare is very important because it gives them much information about health and hygiene.
Through the knowledge of microbiology, the nurses and other health professionals in healthcare can learn, how infections spread and how to carefully cure or surgery an open wound without infecting it.
The knowledge of microbiology teaches them to keep the instruments aseptic and contaminant-free. It helps them find and identify the symptoms of an infection and type of infection at its early stage.
It also teaches them the nature of the organism and the factors affecting its growth, the most susceptible means of disease transmission and the composition of chemicals, drugs, aseptic solutions, etc.
5. Importance of Microbiology in Biotechnology
Microorganisms are used in various fields of biotechnology. In the fermentation industry, microbes are used to produce ethanol, organic acids, vinegar, and fermented foods by degrading complex organic matters.
Microbes (e. g. virus) are used as a source of molecular vectors such as a plasmid, phagemid, and cosmid in molecular biology and recombinant DNA technology.
Microbes are used in bioremediation that removes organic compounds and hydrocarbon from sewage water by degrading these organic wastes.
By using microorganisms, microbiologists extract metals or heavy metals from their ore through a process called bioleaching and biomining.
Microorganisms also produce enzymes, vitamins, organic acids, antibiotics, amino acids, and polysaccharides as their metabolic products for industrial purposes.
6. Importance of Microbiology in Chemical products
Several industrial chemical products are produced through the use of microorganisms.
These products include acetaldehyde, acetic acid, acetoacetic acid, butanol, ethanol, fructose, galactose, glycerol, lactic acid, mannitol, mannose, pyruvic acid, sorbose, succinic acid.
The microorganism that produces these products include Acetic acid bacteria, lactic acid bacteria, propionic acid bacteria, butyric acid bacteria, E. coli, Aerobacter aerogenes.
7. Importance of Microbiology in fuel:
Biofuel can be obtained from extracted microalgae oil, biomethane by anaerobic digestion of
Microalgae biomass, ethanol by fermentation of carbohydrate.
Microalgae are a potential source of oil content for biodiesel production. They also contain a higher amount of lipids that serve as raw material for biodiesel production.
Butanol and ethanol
Microalgae contain a large amount of cellulose, starch, mannitol, agar and laminarin that are fermented to alcohol (ethanol and butanol). This microalga includes Chlorella, Chlamydomonas, Dunaliella, Scenedesmus, and Spirulina.
8. Importance of Microbiology in aquaculture/fisheries:
Heterotrophic microorganisms play an important role in decomposing organic matter and cycling of nutrients in aquatic systems. In the aquatic system, microbes are placed at the bottom of the food chain.
Microorganisms also play various important roles in aquaculture as they grow naturally in the aquatic environment.
- Protect fish and larvae from various microbial infections.
- Improve the overall quality of water.
- Control the development of microbial and insect-infected diseases.
- Suppress the growth of harmful bacteria and enhance larval survival, minimizing the need to apply antibiotics.
9. Importance of Microbiology in Agriculture:
Microorganisms help in decomposing toxic compounds in agricultural soil preventing toxic accumulation in the soil. Thus it helps in increasing the fertility of the soil.
Microorganisms (e.g. Blue-green algae) play an important role in nitrogen fixation.
Fungi like Mycorrhiza help the plant absorb minerals and water from the soil and protect its roots from other fungi and nematodes.
Actinomycetes (Nocardia and Monospora) and Molds (Mucor and Aspergillus) increase the fertility of the soil by decomposing its organic matter.
Other soil bacteria help in nitrification, nitrification, mineralization and sulfur oxidation, etc.
Soil bacteria produce Humus that helps in retaining soil moisture and enhances the formation of soil structure.
Soil bacteria support plant growth by producing several substances like auxins, gibberellins, and antibiotics.
Soil bacteria also help in controlling pest and microbial disease. A best-known soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis have the ability to control caterpillar pests of plants.
10. Importance of Microbiology in Environmental Science/ Sewage System:
Environmental Microbiology is the study of microorganisms that lives in air, soil, water. Microorganisms degrade toxic pollutants from the environment. For example, Acinetobacter can degrade a wide range of aromatic compounds.
Bacteria help us clean water through sewage treatment. Bacteria degrade the organic matter in sewage removing the pollution from water.
Nitrification and phosphorous removal are occurred by bacteria in the sewage system. In this system, Nitrosomonas spp oxidize ammonium to nitrite and Nitrobacter spp oxidize nitrite to nitrate. Denitrifying bacteria (Pseudomonas) reduce nitrate into nitrogen gas using the chemical energy in organic matter to reduce.
Aerobic bacteria also ferment solid components of the sewage.