Microbiology is one of the branches of biology. It is a science that studies the vital activities of various microorganisms at the molecular, cellular, or population level, such as morphological structure, growth and reproduction, physiological metabolism, genetic variation, ecological distribution, and taxonomic evolution. Microbiology is widely used in industrial fermentation, medical hygiene, and bioengineering.
History of microbiology
Microbiology Since ancient times, humans have been aware of the vital activities of microorganisms and their role in daily life and production practice. In 1796, the British invented the vaccinia vaccine, which laid the foundation for the development of immunology. In the 17th century, Leeuwenhoek used a simple, self-made microscope to observe dental scales, rainwater, well water, and plant extracts, and found that many “tiny animals” were active and scientifically recorded the different forms of bacteria.
The Italian botanist P. A. Mikey also observed the morphology of fungi with a simple microscope. The study of microbiology has entered the physiological stage since the 1960s. The study of microbial physiology by the French scientist Pasteur laid the foundations for modern microbiology. At this stage, the establishment of microbial operating technology and research methods is a unique symbol of the development of microbiology.
Since the 20th century, the infiltration of biochemistry and biophysics into microbiology, along with the invention of electron microscopy and the application of isotope tracer atoms, has promoted the development of microbiology to the stage of biochemistry.
Some progress has been made in the genetic recombination of prokaryotes. Insulin has been fermented by gene transfer Escherichia coli and interferon has been produced by bacteria. It shows that modern microbiology research has developed at the molecular level.
Microbiology develops in two directions, applied microbiology, and basic microbiology. In application, research on human diseases and the defense function of the body has promoted the development of medical microbiology and immunology. The discovery of penicillin (Fleming, 1929) and Waksman’s research on actinomycetes in the soil have led to the emergence of the science of antibiotics, which is an important field of industrial microbiology.
Environmental microbiology is developed on the basis of soil microbiology. The application of microorganisms in agriculture makes agricultural microbiology and veterinary microbiology important applied disciplines. The study of biochemistry, genetics, and variation has led to the birth of microbial genetics.
Microbial ecology also formed an independent discipline in the 1960s. Since the 1980s, research on microorganisms has developed rapidly at the molecular level, and molecular microbiology has emerged as times require. Modern clinical microbiology is an interdisciplinary subject that combines clinical medicine, basic medicine, and preventive medicine. It is also an important and mature specialty in laboratory medicine.
With the development of modern microbiology, applied microorganism research has appeared a lot of hot spots related to biotechnology. The investigation of new microbial fertilizers is one of the critical points of microbial research. The development trend of microbial fertilizer is to replace a single strain with a mixture and perform multiple functions. Furthermore, new microbial pesticides are widely used in agricultural production. They are safe, non-toxic to humans and livestock, they do not pollute the environment or destroy the ecological balance, and they have significant social and ecological benefits.
Feed microbiology has become an important branch of animal husbandry and feed science. At present, the research and application of feed microbiology are focused on improving the utilization rate of existing food resources, developing new feed additives, and solving the environmental pollution problems of feed-related industries.
Environmental microbial technology will become a new direction in biotechnology development in this century. Environmental bioengineering and its industry, represented by high-efficiency microbial degradation technology, are considered a new growth point in the development of science.
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