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Branches, Scope and Importance of Microbiology

Bacteriology, Mycology, Protozoology, Phycology, Parasitology, Immunology, Agriculture microbiology, Industrial microbiology, Food microbiology etc.

Scope and Branches of Microbiology

The era of microbiology is currently upon us. As one of the most dominant groups of living organisms in the biosphere, microorganisms are essential for understanding the chemical and physical basis of life as they contribute to our daily existence. Biochemistry and genetics are analyzed through microbiology mostly. The fact that microbes are crucial models for understanding the functions of cells as well as their potential applications in the fields of medicine, agriculture, and industry to improve human welfare makes microbiology a vital branch of science with countless potential applications. There is more to microbiology than one small topic. There are almost six main branches to it.

Pure and applied microbiology as well as taxonomy are classified as branches of microbiology.


Microbiology deals with the study of bacteria, which is known as bacteriology. There are also several specializations within this field such as marine bacteriology, agricultural bacteriology, sanitary bacteriology, industrial bacteriology, and systematic bacteriology. In this area of microbiology, we focus on aspects such as types of bacteria and their characteristics, diseases, and applications, etc.


The field of mycology deals with eukaryotic organisms such as fungi, as opposed to bacteriology, which studies prokaryotic organisms. Fungi (mold and yeast) can be found in a wide variety of environments and can be beneficial or harmful, depending on the type. In mycology, the focus is on the characteristics and characteristics of these organisms (e.g., their taxonomy, etc.) which have in turn made the use of these organisms possible in a variety of industries such as breweries, food, and medicine. A mycologist is someone who specializes in mycology.


A branch of microbiology based on taxonomy; protozoology is a relatively new branch of the field. The study of protozoa falls under this subfield. This refers to a group of eukaryotic organisms that includes amoeboid, ciliates, sporozoans, and flagellates, as well as fungi. The fact that many of these organisms have been correlated with disease in animals and humans has led protozoologists to examine not only their taxonomy and morphology, but also their medicinal significance. In addition to malaria and sleeping sickness, protozoa can also cause amoebic dysentery.


A branch of microbiology that deals with multicellular organisms is phycology, like mycology. Phycology, however, deals with the study of algae that occur in a variety of environments as opposed to mycology. While some algae are small microorganisms found in the ocean, others grow into large plants commonly found in the aquatic environment. The production of oxygen makes algae important in microbiology, in addition to being part of the food chain. Phycologists (e.g., Carl Adolph Agardh) study phycology.


A parasitologist studies parasites as a branch of microbiology. The principal focus of parasitology is on organisms of three types, namely protozoa, helminths (worms), and arthropods. Parasitology focuses on diseases-causing organisms (e.g., parasites and vectors), and has thus been heavily influenced by other disciplines, such as immunology and biochemistry. In parasitology, unicellular organisms as well as multicellular organisms are studied. Parasitologists are known for their study of parasites.


Immunology is the study of the immune system as a sub-discipline of biology. Study of this subject has been important since the 18th Century, when the aim was to boost the body's immunity to prevent illness. While there are many types of diseases caused by various organisms and foreign substances, autoimmunity may also be a cause of disease. By studying the body's relationship with pathogens, scientists have become adept at eradicating diseases that had once plagued society.

Other Branches

Agriculture microbiology - The study of agricultural microbiology encompasses the process of soil nutrient cycling by microbes, the degradation of organic wastes by microbes, and soil fertility enhancement by microbes associated with plants.

Industrial microbiology - Industry Microbiology deals with the use of microbes to create antibiotics, enzymes, alcoholic beverages, fermentation products, and other products.

Aero microbiology - Aero-microbiology is the study of the microorganisms present in the air, their abundance, and whether they are beneficial or harmful.

Food microbiology - There are many microbes that are involved with food spoilage, food borne diseases, and the preparation of commercial foods using microbes.

Aquatic microbiology - Microbes in aquatic ecosystems purify water and degrade wastes through biological degradation.

Medical microbiology - In medical microbiology, we study microbes capable of causing disease, what we can do to diagnose and prevent diseases, and how to design drugs.

Geochemical microbiology - Geological Microbiology analyzes microbial life as it occurs in coal formation sites, oil fields, gas fields, and other geochemical settings.

Exo-microbiology - Life in outer space is the focus of exo-microbiology.

Microbiology is the only branch of biology that has been crowned as an innovating, evergreen branch of biology that offers wide scope to aspiring scientists. Each branch of microbiology contributes to science and technology development. Microbes make life comfortable and trouble-free, without which it is impossible to live.

Importance of Microbiology

Every life form on this planet relies on microbes. Their versatile nature makes them capable of playing a fundamental role in a wide variety of biochemical reactions, such as biodegradation, biodeterioration, climate change, food spoilage, epidemiology, and biotechnology. Microbiologists have a wide range of techniques for harnessing the power of microbes in a variety of controlled settings to benefit subjects as diverse as healthcare, food production, and agriculture. One of humankind's most important scientific breakthroughs was made by microbiologists in medicine. Among them is Edward Jenner's vaccine for smallpox. Cholera, tuberculosis, and anthrax are all infections caused by Robert Koch. Alexandre Fleming formulated the penicillin antibiotic. Furthermore, recent research has linked Helicobacter pylori with stomach ulcers. By pushing the boundaries of science, microbiologists are saving lives.

Microbiology Society summarizes the field's importance as follows:

“In the current political climate, microbiology research has played a crucial role in addressing many global challenges and aspirations, including providing food, water, and energy security for a healthy population on a habitable planet. In addition to answering fundamental questions, microbiology research will contribute to the understanding of Earth's diversity and 'is life possible anywhere else in the universe?”

One of the major jobs of microbiologists is to support sustainable agriculture, clean up pollution, create biofuels, and prepare food for consumption. Microbiologists also play a crucial role in producing the life-saving medications that many people around the world depend on to survive, thanks to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and global pandemics.
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Ankur Choudhary is India's first professional pharmaceutical blogger, author and founder of, a widely-read pharmaceutical blog since 2008. Sign-up for the free email updates for your daily dose of pharmaceutical tips.
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