n. a branch of biology which deals with microscopic forms of life

Microbiology in simple terms is the study of life and organisms that are too small to see with the naked eye. It is a relatively new science in comparison to others such as zoology and didn’t exist until the 16th century when the microscope was invented.

Microbes can live in a diverse range of habitats; on land, hot springs, the deep ocean, the human body and they affect all aspects of life on earth. They not only cause infectious diseases but if used correctly can be beneficial too. Some microbes will make you ill but others are responsible for the cure (antibiotics), some are the cause of food spoilage, whereas without others we would struggle tp produce some foods and drinks. We would be unable to made bread or beer without yeast for example.

Like all sciences the term covers many branches. Microbiology includes virology, bacteriology, parasitology to name but a few. If you were looking for a career in the field of Microbiology you would specialise in one of the following sub-disciplines:

Branch of Microbiology: 

The study of:

Medical the role of  microbes in human illness
Vetinary the role of microbes in vetinary medicine and animal classification
Environmental the function of microbes in their natural environments
Industrial microbes for use in industrial processes, includes wastewater treatment and brewing
Aeromicrobiology airborne microorganisms
Food microorganisms which cause food spoilage and food-borne illness, food safety
Pharmaceutical microorganisms which cause pharmaceutical contamination and spoilage
Oral microorganisms of the mouth
Cellular a discipline which combines microbiology with cell biology
Evolutionary evolution of microbes

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