What is Microbiology: Definition and 24 Discussions

Microbiology (from Greek μῑκρος, mīkros, "small"; βίος, bios, "life"; and -λογία, -logia) is the scientific study of microorganisms, those being unicellular (single cell), multicellular (cell colony), or acellular (lacking cells). Microbiology encompasses numerous sub-disciplines including virology, bacteriology, protistology, mycology, immunology and parasitology.
Eukaryotic microorganisms possess membrane-bound organelles and include fungi and protists, whereas prokaryotic organisms—all of which are microorganisms—are conventionally classified as lacking membrane-bound organelles and include Bacteria and Archaea. 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 on molecular biology tools such as DNA sequence based identification, for example the 16S rRNA gene sequence used for bacteria identification.
Viruses have been variably classified as organisms, as they have been considered either as very simple microorganisms or very complex molecules. Prions, never considered as 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".
The existence of microorganisms was predicted many centuries before they were first observed, for example by the Jains in India and by Marcus Terentius Varro in ancient Rome. The first recorded microscope observation was of the fruiting bodies of moulds, by Robert Hooke in 1666, but the Jesuit priest Athanasius Kircher was likely the first to see microbes, which he mentioned observing in milk and putrid material in 1658. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek is considered a father of microbiology as he observed and experimented with microscopic organisms in the 1670s, using simple microscopes of his own design. Scientific microbiology developed in the 19th century through the work of Louis Pasteur and in medical microbiology Robert Koch.

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  1. whistle blower

    Absolute Open Mind Holds No Bounds

    I’m male, my nature has always been to question everything explore possibilities, over my latter years convinced that for the short period of time we existed we gained very little, if we did stay around a little longer we may learn a little more, what we cannot prove to be correct is where we...
  2. Mingzhu

    Calculating Microdosimetry in MCNP

    the code file is attached
  3. K

    Lithotrophic photoautotroph vs organotrophic chemoheterotrop

    Explain the difference No equation Couldn't figure it out!
  4. TytoAlba95

    Understanding Widal Test Kit Dilutions

    This snip off is from Himedia Widal test teaching kit. I understand 1/20 1/40 1/80... are the concentrations in each test tube. They are obtained by the following calculation: (2nd testube) 1/2 X 1/20. But I can't decipher the numbers written at the top, 10-1 , 10-2 etc. Besides which of of...
  5. B

    What are the major taxonomic orders of homoacetogens?

    Is there a database that can help answer this question? Any references? Thank you!
  6. C

    Identifying Unknown Bacteria: A Scientific Approach

    Homework Statement I have done tests on this unknown bacteria and this were the results: Cocci shape Gram (-) negative Catalase (+) positive (only one bubble though) Oxidase( - )negative Has endospores (used Schaeffer-Fulton method) Antibiogram: Resistant to Streptomycin...
  7. J

    Microbiological Fuel Cell: Negative Voltage

    Hello! I've been working on a few soil based MFCs and I have been monitoring my voltage and energy output for a week now. I've made the electrodes by covering stainless steel metal meshes with activated carbon using epoxy. I've gotten some funky results as attached. As you can see... the...
  8. N

    Are 'spores' some kind of 'seeds'?

    < Mentor Note -- OP has edited the thread to add the HH Template -- Thank you! > 1. Homework Statement I think that the spores produced by the bread mould plant are actually its seeds but my textbook says that it isn't. Homework Equations No any equation to mention The Attempt at a Solution I...
  9. I

    Need help creating flowchart for ID-ing microogranism

    Homework Statement I need help creating flowchart for ID-ing an "unknown" organism. Unknown in quotes because I already know ID of organism. Homework Equations gram + (purple) tetrads and cocci forms yellow colonies on NA plate catalase + coagulase - Nitrate + oxidase (weakly) + Bacitracin...
  10. B

    Programs Deciding Double Major with Mathematics and Microbiology

    Hello! I am a sophomore with a major in microbiology; my future goal is to attend the graduate school with virology/medical microbiology program and become a virologist specialized in the influenza & VHF viruses. Currently, I am taking the Organic Chemistry I, Immunology (graduate-level), and...
  11. B

    Programs Mathematics major for Microbiology

    Hello! I am a rising sophomore with a major in microbiology. I wrote this post to seek out the advice from you in terms of double majoring with the mathematics. Although my primary interest is on the microbiology (especially the virology), I am also deeply interested in the fields of number...
  12. B

    Calculus Textbook for Microbiology major

    Hello! What calculus textbook do you recommend for microbiology major or other biology majors? I heard good things about Stewart, Spivak, Larson, and other legendary calculus textbooks, but I do not know which one is suited for the microbiology major. I really like to have one that is...
  13. N

    Microbiology Quiz Question (transcription/DNA replication)

    This was a quiz question recently in my microbiology class: In what way are transcription and DNA replication compartmentalized in eukaryotes? a. they occur in the same compartment b. they occur in separate compartments c. one must be finsished before the others start d. they are...
  14. N

    Accuracy in analytical microbiology

    Hello everyone. I'm studying to become a laboratory analyst and I've recently began my studies in microbiology. My studies began with chemistry and now that the focus in my studies has shifted to microbiology for a bit, I see a sudden drop in required accuracy in results of our analysis. I'm...
  15. B

    Microbiology: First stage and 2nd stage tests

    Homework Statement I have some test results such as gram staining or urease tests to identify a bacteria. How do I figure out which tests are "first stage" tests and which ones are "second stage tests". Because based on the results of the test, I need to figure out which ones are needed and...
  16. T

    Programs Do you need a microbiology degree to work as a microbiologist?

    I am currently a 1st semester freshman at my state university. I am a Microbiology/Biotech major. My degree requires 7 chem classes, 2 physics, and then a handful of biology classes in my concentration (not including a handful of general biology classes). I really like microbiology, but this...
  17. D

    Mechanical Engineering or Microbiology?

    hey there...just wondering if I can get some suggestions choosing the sub I want to grad. from.. The thing is that I just finished my high school n now got chance in both Mechanical Engineering n Microbiology...I think I'm pretty good at Physics..n also in Math n Biology...tho I really don't...
  18. C

    Programs Microbiology major for pre-med?

    Microbiology major for pre-med? I just have a quick question for you guys. I have recently been accepted to the University of Iowa and I picked to major in Microbiology. Would this be a good major for someone who is considering going to med school? Are there any pros and cons? Thanks for any...
  19. N

    Need Help Microbiology: Processing & Quality Considerations

    Need help Microbiology! how is a clinical specimen processed to identify the microorganism present in it. What are the important considerations for ensuring the quality of the specimen?
  20. G

    Microbiology: Why Does 70% EtOH Work Better Than 100%?

    yea so some disinfectants work better at certain concentrations such as 70% etoh as opposed to 100% etoh. what is the reason for this? this is a question pertaining to microbiology btw. thanks.
  21. S

    Re: Microbiology Hwk Problem, Calculating generation time

    Calculate the time it will take to increase the cell number from 10^4 CFU/ml to 10^8 CFU/ml assuming a generation time of 1.5 hr. 2=e^ut where t is the generation time...solve for u. x=xo*e^ut where t is time For the 1st equation: ln2=lne(ut) ln2/t=u ln2/1.5=u u=0.46 l/hr For...
  22. G

    Antibiotics Investigation with White Tray: What is it Called?

    I used a white tray to work on for my antibiotics investigation. What is the tray called? :frown:
  23. M

    Unicellular Organisms: Sense of Touch & Other Sensory Capabilities

    Do all, most, some, or zero unicellular organisms have a sense of touch? Do they know when they run into something? If they do, how does that sense of touch work? is it pressure in the cytoplasm, sensors at the membrane, or something else? Also, do they have other sensory capabilities? I am told...
  24. A

    Physics Basics for Microbiology / Molecular Medicine?

    Hi everybody, I'm about to apply for a program in molecular medicine and need to freshen up my Physics for the admissions exams... haven't had any Physics for 2-3 years :rolleyes: so I guess I'd better get busy. Most of the final score is math, chem and biology anyway (which I enjoy), but...