The advent of new technologies and growing recognition of the enormous degree of microbial diversity has revolutionized our understanding of microbiology as a discipline. Microbiology is moving into a new era that focuses less on specific organisms and more on the processes and mechanisms that link them. Nature Reviews Microbiology embraces this new era by encompassing the discipline in its broadest sense. We take an integrated approach to microbiology, bridging fundamental research and its clinical, industrial and environmental applications to create a single information resource for all who share an interest in microbial life. 


Nature Reviews Microbiology publishes the highest-quality reviews and perspectives highlighting important developments in our understanding of bacteria, archaea, viruses, fungi and protozoa, their interaction with their environments, how these organisms are harnessed in human endeavour and their impact on society. Also featured are timely summaries of significant research papers, as well as monthly updates on the latest developments in microbial genomics, post-genomic biology and infectious diseases. In line with our ongoing ambition to overcome the traditional barriers between bacteriology, virology, mycology and archaeal and protozoan biology, articles are tailored to appeal to microbiologists of every persuasion and at every level. The scope of the journal encompasses, but will not be limited to, the following fields pertaining to bacteria, archaea, viruses, fungi and protozoa:
·         Biochemistry, physiology and molecular biology
·         Genetics and genomics
·         Ecology, evolution and biodiversity
·         Cellular microbiology
·         Environmental microbiology
·         Pathogenesis and host defence
·         Clinical and diagnostic microbiology
·         Infectious diseases
·         Antimicrobial therapies and vaccines
·         Epidemiology and public health microbiology
·         Applied and industrial microbiology
·         Microbiology education
·         Microbiology and society
If a career involving microbes is in your future, you'll want to learn about the educational requirements and possibly find a mentor.You may not encounter any microbiologists in your everyday activities or even know of anyone who works as a microbiologist. But the efforts of thousands of these scientists to better understand our planet’s microscopic inhabitants affect you in many ways every day.
Microbiologists’ research helps keep your food from making you sick and your drinking water clean and safe.

They track down the culprits behind mysterious new illnesses and harness microbes’ abilities to make medicines, industrial enzymes, food ingredients, and many other useful products. 



Microbiologists work behind the scenes in hospital labs to pinpoint the germ making you sick so your doctor can prescribe the right treatment, and they figure out the basic workings of infectious microbial cells so that drug makers can devise potent new medicines. 



They solve environmental problems by using microbes in bioremediation, and they explore oceans, caves, deserts, and even Antarctica's ice to learn how microbes affect the workings of our planet.

You might expect to find microbiologists working at research universities or in the sprawling complexes of pharmaceutical companies. But microbiologists also work in the food industry, water treatment, agriculture, pollution control, biotechnology, energy development,  museum preservation, and many other disciplines.

Microbiologists also find jobs in government agencies and labs, such as the National Institutes of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Microbiologists can be found in a variety of settings, from the traditional laboratory to the woods.
Because there are so many different species of microbes out there and they do such very different things, no one microbiologist can study every kind of microorganism. Microbiologists and other scientists who study microbes usually focus on a particular microbe or research area. 


Here are a few examples:

·         Bacteriologists focus specifically on bacteria and how they help or hurt us.
·         Virologists specialize in viruses and how they infect cells.
·         Mycologists study fungi in particular.
·         Protozoologists devote their efforts to protozoa.
·         Epidemiologists investigate infectious disease outbreaks to learn what caused them and if we’re facing a deadly new microbe.
·         Immunologists study how the body defends itself against microbial invaders.

Benefits
While some fear microbes due to the association of some microbes with various human illnesses, many microbes are also responsible for numerous beneficial processes such as industrial fermentation (e.g. the production of alcoholvinegar and dairy products), antibioticproduction and as vehicles for cloning in more complex organisms such as plants. Scientists have also exploited their knowledge of microbes to produce biotechnologically important enzymes such as Taq polymerasereporter genes for use in other genetic systems and novel molecular biology techniques such as the yeast two-hybrid system.

(Fermenting tanks with yeast being used to brew beer)


Bacteria can be used for the industrial production of amino acids. Corynebacterium glutamicum is one of the most important bacterial species with an annual production of more than two million tons of amino acids, mainly L-glutamate and L-lysine.
A variety of biopolymers, such as polysaccharidespolyesters, and polyamides, are produced by microorganisms. Microorganisms are used for the biotechnological production of biopolymers with tailored properties suitable for high-value medical application such as tissue engineering and drug delivery. Microorganisms are used for the biosynthesis of xanthanalginatecellulosecyanophycin, poly(gamma-glutamic acid), levanhyaluronic acid, organic acids, oligosaccharides and polysaccharide, and polyhydroxyalkanoates.
Microorganisms are beneficial for microbial biodegradation or bioremediation of domestic, agricultural and industrial wastes and subsurface pollution in soils, sediments and marine environments. The ability of each microorganism to degrade toxic waste depends on the nature of each contaminant. Since sites typically have multiple pollutant types, the most effective approach to microbial biodegradation is to use a mixture of bacterial and fungal species and strains, each specific to the biodegradation of one or more types of contaminants.
Symbiotic microbial communities are known to confer various benefits to their human and animal host's health including aiding digestion, production of beneficial vitamins and amino acids, and suppression of pathogenic microbes. Some benefit may be conferred by consuming fermented foods, probiotics (bacteria potentially beneficial to the digestive system) and/or prebiotics (substances consumed to promote the growth of probiotic microorganisms). The ways the microbiome influences human and animal health, as well as methods to influence the microbiome are active areas of research.

Research has suggested that microorganisms could be useful in the treatment of cancer. Various strains of non-pathogenic clostridia can infiltrate and replicate within solid tumors. Clostridial vectors can be safely administered and their potential to deliver therapeutic proteins has been demonstrated in a variety of preclinical models. 

















Ancient
The existence of microorganisms was hypothesized for many centuries before their actual discovery. The existence of unseen microbiological life was postulated by Jainism which is based on Mahavira’s teachings as early as 6th century BCE. Paul Dundas notes that Mahavira asserted existence of unseen microbiological creatures living in earth, water, air and fire. Jain scriptures also describe nigodas which are sub-microscopic creatures living in large clusters and having a very short life and are said to pervade each and every part of the universe, even in tissues of plants and flesh of animals. The Roman Marcus Terentius Varro made references to microbes when he warned against locating a homestead in the vicinity of swamps "because there are bred certain minute creatures which cannot be seen by the eyes, which float in the air and enter the body through the mouth and nose and there by cause serious diseases."[citation needed]
In the medieval Islamic world

Avicenna "ibn Sina"
At the golden age of Islamic civilization, some scientists had knowledge about Microorganisms, such as Ibn Sina in his book The Canon of MedicineIbn Zuhr "Avenzoar" who discovered Scabies Germs, and Al-Razi who spoke ofparasites in his book "The Virtuous Life" (al-Hawi).
In 1546, Girolamo Fracastoro proposed that epidemic diseases were caused by transferable seedlike entities that could transmit infection by direct or indirect contact, or vehicle transmission.


However, early claims about the existence of microorganisms were speculative, and not based on microscopic observation. Actual observation and discovery of microbes had to await the invention of the microscope in the 17th century.








Modern
Microbiology was born in 1674 when Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (16321723), a Dutch drapery merchant, peered at a drop of lake water through a carefully ground glass lens. Through this he beheld the first glimpse of the microbial world. Perhaps more than any other science, the development of microbiology depended on the invention and improvement of a tool, the microscope . Since bacteria cannot be seen individually with the unaided eye, their existence as individuals can only be known through microscopic observations. Indeed, it is interesting to speculate on how microbiology might have developed if the limits of resolution of the microscope were poorer.
Antoni van Leeuwenhoek
The practical and scientific aspects of microbiology have been closely woven from the very beginning. Perhaps it is for this reason that microbiology as a field of study did not really develop until the twentieth century. Nineteenth century "microbiologists" were chemists and physicians and a few were botanists. At that stage, the science of microbes was developing to solve very practical problems in two clear scientific fields, the science of fermentation and in medicine.
Although medicine and fermentation presented the practical problems that stimulated the development of microbiology, the first studies that put the subject on a scientific basis arose from a problem of pure science. This was the controversy over spontaneous generation. Although the crude ideas of spontaneous generation (e.g., maggots from meat) were dispelled by Francesco Redi (1626?1698?) in the seventeenth century, more subtle ideas such as that protozoa and bacteria can arise from vegetable and animal infusions, were still accepted in the nineteenth century. The controversy also involved fermentations, since it was considered that the yeast fermentation was of spontaneous origin.
Many workers became involved in the study of fermentation and spontaneous generation, but Louis Pasteur (18221895) stands out as a giant. He came into biology from the field of chemistry and was apparently able to remove all the philosophical hurdles that blocked the thinking of others. Within a period of four years after he began his studies, he had clarified the problems of spontaneous generation so well that the controversy died a natural death.
Louis Pasteur

Pasteur was also able to go easily from fermentation into the field of medical microbiology, which occupied the later part of his life. His contributions in that field were numerous, and his work in fields such as microbial attenuation and vaccination has been the basis of many modern medical practices. It should be emphasized that the development of sterilization methods by researchers such as Pasteur and John Tyndall (18201893), so necessary to the solution of the spontaneous generation controversy, were essential to put the science of microbiology on a firm foundation. The workers did not set out to develop these methods, but they evolved as a bonus that was received for solving the spontaneous generation question.
Other important developments were in medicine. The microbiological aspects of medicine arose out of considerations of the nature of contagious disease. Although the phenomenon of contagion, especially with respect to diseases such as smallpox , was recognized far back in antiquity, its nature and relationship to microorganisms was not under-stood. It was probably the introduction of syphilis into Europe, which served to crystallize thinking as here was a disease that could only be transmitted by contact and helped to formulate the question, what is being transmitted? Gerolamo Fracastoro (14781553) gave syphilis its name in the sixteenth century and came close to devising a germ theory of disease , an idea that later attracted a number of workers all the way down to the nineteenth century. By the late 1830s, Schwann and Cagniard-Latour had shown that alcoholic fermentation and putrefaction were due to living, organized beings. If one accepted the fact that the decomposition of organic materials was due to living organisms, it was only a step further to reason that disease, which in many ways appears as the decomposition of body tissues, was due to living agents. Jacob Henle, in 1840, further commented on this similarity and with the newfound knowledge on the nature of fermentation, he proceeded to draw rather clear conclusions also saying that experimental proof would be required to clinch this hypothesis. That evidence came later from Robert Koch provided, in 1867, the final evidence proving the germ theory. He established the etiologic role of bacteria in anthrax and as a result proposed a set of rules to be followed in the establishment of etiology. The key to Koch's observation was the isolation of the organism in pure culture . While limiting dilutions could have been used (as described previously by Joseph Lister , 18271912), Koch promoted the use of solid media, giving rise to separate colonies and the use of stains. In 1882, Koch identified the tubercle bacillus and so formalized the criteria of Henle for distinguishing causative pathogenic microbes. This set of criteria is known as Koch's postulates .
Robert Koch

One of the most important applied developments in microbiology was in understanding the nature of specific acquired immunity to disease. That such immunity was possible was known for a long time, and the knowledge finally crystallized with the prophylactic treatment for smallpox introduced by Edward Jenner (17491823). Using cowpox , Jenner introduced the first vaccination procedures in 1796. This occurred long before the germ theory of disease had been established. Later workers developed additional methods of increasing the immunity of an individual to disease, but the most dramatic triumph was the discovery of the diphtheria and tetanus antitoxins by von Behring and Kitisato in the 1890s. This work later developed into a practical tool by Paul Ehrlich(18541915) and it was now possible to cure a person suffering from these diseases by injecting some antitoxic serum prepared by earlier immunizationof a horse or other large animal. This led for the first time to rational cures for infectious diseases, and was responsible for Ehrlich's later conception ofchemotherapy . The antibiotics era, which followed the groundbreaking work of Alexander Fleming (18811955) with penicillin , was another important step in the understanding of microbiology.

Alexander Fleming
Most of the most recent work in the development of microbiology has been in the field of microbial genetics and how it evolved into a separate discipline known as molecular biology . This work really began in the 1940s, whenOswald Avery, Colin MacLeod and Maclyn McCarty demonstrated that the transforming principle in bacteria, previously observed by Frederick Griffiths in 1928, was DNA . Joshua Lederberg and Edward Tatum demonstrated that DNA could be transferred from one bacterium to another in 1944. With the determination of the structure of DNA in 1953, a new and practical aspect of microbiology suddenly became realised, and the foundations of genetic engineering were laid. It is perhaps important to realize that if it were not for bacteria and their characteristics, genetic engineering would not be possible. The concept of DNA transfer was essentially born in the 1940s. Later on, in the late 1960s bacterial restriction enzymes were discovered and the possibilities of splicing and rearranging DNA emerged. The advances in molecular biology following these major breakthroughs have been immense but it is important to realize that the field of microbiology lies at their root.
The branches of microbiology can be classified into pure and applied sciences.Microbiology can be also classified based on taxonomy, in the cases of bacteriology, mycology, protozoology, and phycology. There is considerable overlap between the specific branches of microbiology with each other and with other disciplines, and certain aspects of these branches can extend beyond the traditional scope of microbiology.
Pure microbiology                                                                                                         
Taxonomic arrangement
·         Bacteriology: The study of bacteria.
·         Mycology: The study of fungi.
·         Protozoology: The study of protozoa.
·         Phycology (or algology): The study of algae.
·         Parasitology: The study of parasites.
·         Immunology: The study of the immune system.
·         Virology: The study of viruses.
·         Nematology: The study of the nematodes
·         Microbiology: The study of microbes.
Integrative arrangement
·    Microbial cytology: The study of microscopic and submicroscopic details of microorganisms.
·    Microbial physiology: The study of how the microbial cell functions biochemically. Includes the study of microbial growth, microbial metabolism and microbial cell structure.
·    Microbial ecology: The relationship between microorganisms and their environment.
·    Microbial genetics: The study of how genes are organized and regulated in microbes in relation to their cellular functions. Closely related to the field of molecular biology.
·    Cellular microbiology: A discipline bridging microbiology and cell biology.
·   Evolutionary microbiology: The study of the evolution of microbes. This field can be subdivided into:
·   Microbial taxonomy: The naming and classification of microorganisms.
·   Microbial systematics: The study of the diversity and genetic relationship of microorganisms.
·    Generation microbiology: The study of those microorganisms that have the same characters as their parents.
·    Systems microbiology: A discipline bridging systems biology and microbiology.
·    Molecular microbiology: The study of the molecular principles of the physiological processes in microorganisms.
Other
·         Nano microbiology: The study of those microorganisms on Nano level.
·         Exo microbiology (or Astro microbiology): The study of microorganisms in outer space
·         Biological agent: The study of those microorganisms which are being used in weapon industries.
Applied microbiology
·         Medical microbiology: The study of the pathogenic microbes and the role of microbes in human illness. Includes the study of microbial pathogenesis and epidemiology and is related to the study of disease pathology and immunology.
·         Pharmaceutical microbiology: The study of microorganisms that are related to the production of antibiotics, enzymes, vitamins, vaccines, and other pharmaceutical products and that cause pharmaceutical contamination and spoil.
·         Industrial microbiology: The exploitation of microbes for use in industrial processes. Examples include industrial fermentation and wastewater treatment. Closely linked to the biotechnology industry. This field also includes brewing, an important application of microbiology.
·         Microbial biotechnology: The manipulation of microorganisms at the genetic and molecular level to generate useful products.
·         Food microbiology and Dairy microbiology: The study of microorganisms causing food spoilage and foodborne illness. Using microorganisms to produce foods, for example by fermentation.
·         Agricultural microbiology: The study of agriculturally relevant microorganisms. This field can be further classified into the following:
·         Plant microbiology and Plant pathology: The study of the interactions between microorganisms and plants and plant pathogens.
·    Soil microbiology: The study of those microorganisms that are found in soil.
·    Veterinary microbiology: The study of the role of microbes in veterinary medicine or animal taxonomy.
·         Environmental microbiology: The study of the function and diversity of microbes in their natural environments. This involves the characterization of key bacterial habitats such as the rhizosphere and phyllospheresoil and groundwater ecosystems, open oceans or extreme environments (extremophiles). This field includes other branches of microbiology such as:
·         Microbial ecology
·         Microbially mediated nutrient cycling
·         Geomicrobiology
·         Microbial diversity
·         Bioremediation
·    Water microbiology (or Aquatic microbiology): The study of those microorganisms that are found in water.

·    Aero microbiology (or Air microbiology): The study of airborne microorganisms.






Microbiology (from Greek μκρος, mīkros, "small"; βίος, bios, "life"; and -λογία, -logia) is the study of microscopic organisms, either unicellular (single cell), multicellular (cell colony), or acellular (lacking cells). Microbiology encompasses numerous sub-disciplines including virology, mycology, parasitology, and bacteriology.
Eukaryotic microorganisms possess membrane-bound cell organelles and include fungi and protists, whereas prokaryotic organisms—which all are microorganisms—are conventionally classified as lacking membrane-bound organelles and include eubacteria and archaebacteria. Microbiologists traditionally relied on culture, staining, and microscopy. However, less than 1% of the microorganisms present in common environments can be cultured in isolation using current means. Microbiologists often rely extraction or detection of nucleic acid, either DNA or RNA sequences.
Viruses have been variably classified as organisms, as they have been considered either as very simple microorganisms or very complex molecules. Prions, never considered microorganisms, have been investigated by virologists, however, as the clinical effects traced to them were originally presumed due to chronic viral infections, and virologists took search—discovering "infectious proteins".

As an application of microbiology, medical microbiology is often introduced with medical principles of immunology as microbiology and immunology. Otherwise, microbiology, virology, and immunology as basic sciences have greatly exceeded the medical variants



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