What is Microbiology? Definition,Meaning

What is Microbiology? Definition, Meaning,importance, develoment, history, uses. Microbiology means the study of those tiny living organisms that are not visible to the naked eye. These microorganisms are bacteria, fungi, archaea, viruses, protozoa, and algae.

These microbes have an essential role in the nutrient cycle, climate change, biodegradation, biotechnology, food spoilage, and finding out the causes & control of the disease. They can be used in different ways because they have a wide range of use.

For example, we can make beneficial drugs from them. They are used to eliminate pollution from the environment. They are also used in the processing of food and beverages. Moreover, they are used in the production of biofuels.

However, Microbiologists do microbes study and the research makes new modern discoveries of some famous microbiologists, e.g., Jenner made a vaccine against smallpox. Lemming discovered penicillin and Harald zur Hausen, who found a connection between cervical cancer and papillomavirus.

Besides, to meet the modern challenges and aspirations, microbiology research is going on, e.g., the maintenance of food, water, and energy.

What is Microbiology? Definition,Meaning
What is Microbiology? Definition,Meaning

Importance of microbiology

Microbes are mandatory to maintain life on earth. It plays a crucial role in many biochemical processes, e.g., nutrient cycle, biodegradation, climate change, food spoilage, and epidemiology. Moreover, microbiology enables you to answer questions like “how diverse is life on earth?”

Furthermore, Microbes have a beneficial effect on different fields like health care, agriculture, and food production. In medicine, microbiologists have done some important work like Edward Jenner made the vaccine against smallpox,

Robert Koch diagnosed the cause of cholera, Tb, and anthrax. As a result, microbiologists are trying to make these microbes life-saving.

In addition, the utilization of microbes was made beneficial too. Microbe study has increased the knowledge about living things too. It is quite easy to work with microbes, and thus we can understand the complex processes of life.

Like we can study and research genetics and metabolism with the help of these microbes. Thus with their aid, we can discover the methods to control and eliminate many diseases.


The major discovery in the history of science was the recognition of those living organisms that do exist but are not visible with naked eyes. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek is the first microbiologist who discovered microbes for the first time in 1665. 

Moreover, from the 13th century, it was considered that these invisible organisms are responsible for causing disease and decaying of living substances. In the 19th century, a combined name for all these microorganisms was suggested as “microbes.” It was known that microbes contain a large number of microorganisms.

Microbiology started with the manufacturing of microscopes. A Dutch draper provided the paper documentation of his observation on microorganisms for the first time.

He described protozoa present in the gut of animals. His observation was clear because he manufactured the magnifying lenses with a high resolution.

Development in the field of microbiology 

Development in the field of microbiology occurred in Europe.  After 1900 microbiology was established in America and after establishment, microbiology extended and flourished. The American bacteriologist David Bergey formed that science’s primary reference, which is continued up till now.

After the 1940s a productive period of microbiology started in which many disease-causing microbes were identified. Moreover, preventive methods were also discovered.


Medicine and disease

During the study of the immune system, biologists use their knowledge gained by microbiology.

Furthermore To find the treatment for various diseases, biologists use all the information and details about bacteria, viruses, and protists. It is only due to microbiology that scientists can see the inner structures of cells and understand the development of microbes and their method of infection.


It aids in finding natural pesticides. Some microbes are used for combating crop diseases. Thus they are known as natural pesticides. These natural pesticides don’t damage crops.

Microbes make the soil more fertile by nitrogen fixation and increase the water retaining the capacity of the soil. Thus they increase crop production.

Moreover, microbiology causes the decomposition of waste products. For example, they degrade the residues of pesticides and toxic waste products.

Environmental application

The two worst oil spills in U.S history are the BP Deepwater oil spill in 2010 and the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989. However, they were cleaned up due to microbiology.

Microorganisms did the degradation of the spill. Therefore, biologists research to use these microorganisms for the betterment of the environment. Moreover, they also study the side effects of this disaster like oil spoil to find out the level of activity of these microbes.

They can use this knowledge to know the effect of microorganisms on the life of other living organisms like mammals.

Food industry 

Moreover, microbiology also enables the biologist to keep the food safe. With the help of microbiology, biologists get to know the microbes that are present in food. Moreover, they use good bacteria in food to prevent contamination in food, e.g., nisin is used in cheese, meat, and beverages as an antibacterial agent.

Biomedical research

Biomedical research involves many fields of life like physical science and biology. Microbiology aids in the formation of vaccines. Microbiologists use it for fighting against diseases and finding their treatments.

Biomedical research enables the biologist to better understand the microbe’s progress. For instance, a biologist discovered how proteins could live for more time and help in replication.

Public health engineering program

Harvesting DNA biotechnology for the sake of public health. Such as the formation of an antiviral protein “interferon” produced by the animals due to viral infection, production of human insulin, growth hormone, and formation of vaccines for cholera tetanus, viral hepatitis A, B, influenza, mumps, and measles. 


As we know, microbiology is about microbes and their role in our daily lives. Without any doubt, we can say that microbes play an essential role in different fields like medical, horticulture, environment, food industry, etc.

It helps in the diagnosis and treatment of various diseases and also helps in food preservation and microbiology in genetic Engineering. According to experts’ points of view, we will see that microbes are beneficial in all aspects in the next few years.

External resources: Microbiology society

This post is also available in: English Français (French) Deutsch (German) Dansk (Danish) Nederlands (Dutch) Svenska (Swedish) Italiano (Italian) Português (Portuguese (Portugal))