WHAT IS MICROBIOLOGY?
Microbiology is the study of very small living organisms- organisms called microorganisms or microbes. Microorganisms are said to be
, meaning they are virtually everywhere.
Microbiology is the branch of biological sciences involving study of all infectious diseases caused bybacteria, viruses and fungal infections
Microbiology includes virology, mycology, parasitology, bacteriology and other branches.
WHY STUDY MICROBIOLOGY?
Although they are very small, microorganisms play significant roles in our lives.
or “normal flora”. Includes all the microbes that resides on and within thehuman body. These microorganisms are beneficial to us. They inhibit the growth of pathogens inthose areas of the body where they live by occupying space, depleting the food supply, andsecreting materials that may prevent or reduce the growth of pathogens.
NOTE: A fetus has no indigenous microflora.
Some of the organisms that colonize (inhibit) our bodies are known as
). These organisms do not cause any problems, they have the potential to causeinfections if they gain access to a part of our anatomy where they do not belong. (e.g
lives inour intestinal tracts. This organism does not cause us any harm as long as it stays in our intestinaltract but can cause disease if it gains access to our urinary bladder, bloodstream or a wound.
Some microbes produce oxygen by the process known as photosynthesis. Thus organisms thatrequire O2 – humans for example owe a debt of gratitude to the algae and cyanobacteria thatproduce oxygen.
Many microbes are involved in the decomposition of dead organisms and the waste products of living organisms. They are known as
They aid in aid in fertilizationby returning inorganic nutrients to the soil. They break down dead and dying organic materials(plants and animals) into nitrates, phosphates and other chemicals necessary for he growth of plants.
Many microbes are essential in various food and beverage industries, whereas others are used toproduce certain enzymes and chemicals. The use of microorganisms in industry is called
Some bacteria and fungi produce antibiotics that are used to treat patients with infectious diseases.By definition, an antibiotic is a substance produced by a microorganism that is effective in killing or inhibiting the growth of other microorganisms.
Diseases. Microorganisms cause two categories of diseases: infectious and microbial intoxications.Anyone pursuing a career in a healthcare profession must be aware of infectious diseases, thepathogens that cause them, the sources of the pathogens, how these diseases are transmitted, andhow to protect yourself and your patients from these diseases.