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Importance of Microbiology

 

Importance of Microbiology
Harmful Effects
Beneficial Activities

 

Importance of Microbiology (Role of Microbiology in human welfare)

Why should we study microbiology? Has there been any change in the quality of our life due to knowledge that we have acquired from the study of microbes? In other words what is the importance of microbiology in our life? We will try to find answers to some of these in the discussion below.

The discussion on the role of microbes in human welfare may be divided under two headings - good and bad. Microbes as we know are capable of both good and bad as for as human life is concerned. We will now list both the harm and benefit by microbes and then let us draw a conclusion as to how microbiology has helped us to control or kill the bad microbes and make maximum use of good microbes. .

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Harmful effects

Many of the microbes may be regarded as man's worst enemies. They cause a wide array of diseases that not only in threatens the existence of plants and animals on which he depends, but his own existence also directly. Viral, bacterial and fungal diseases of human beings have taken a heavy toll of human life, destruction of domesticated animals and total loss of agricultural crops. Before the discovery of microbes and before they were connected to diseases (germ theory of disease), the reasons for these diseases were not known and man continued to suffer. But the development of microbiology gave man an insight into the life of microbes. Study of the structure and life history of microbes and their physiology, metabolism genetics etc. will help us to control them so that diseases can be prevented and if it occurs can be cured.

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Beneficial activities

The benefit that man can derive from the activities of microbes are immense. Study of these in microbiology helps us to improve (both in quality and quantity) these activities so that man can be benefited. Medical microbiology, Agricultural microbiology, Environmental microbiology, Industrial microbiology, biotechnology are all branches of microbiology that tell us as to how in various human endeavours, microbiology is giving a helping hand to improve the quality of life.

Biotechnology is one field which has the potential to change the course of life itself. Employed properly, it can bring about vast improvement in human life and his environment. But used improperly (just as atomic energy is used for making bombs) it can bring about untold misery to human life.

Creation of new genetically engineered microbes using the technique of Recombinant DNA may help us to produce new drugs, produce disease resistant animals and crop plants etc. Some microbes may also help us to check pollution as for example bacteria that can feed on oil spill.

As research tools, to enquire into the fundamental processes of life microbes have rendered great service. They can be cultured, life histories can be studied in a short time and the results obtained can be interpreted for higher forms of life (including human beings) also, as the genetic material is same.

From the discussion above, it must be abundantly clear that microbiology has become increasingly important to human society. It (microbiology) has emerged as one of the most important branches of life sciences. As microbes practically affect all activities of our life like, food, clothing, shelter, health hygiene etc, so also microbiology has made vast progressive strides in all these fields in little less than a century to improve the quality of our life. Infectious diseases have almost been conquered by new drugs, quality of agricultural crops improved by using techniques of genetic engineering, new varieties of wines, liquors have been produced perhaps to rise the spirit of man - all these arc possible only because of microbiology. All these will make us wonder how our life would have been without the Knowledge of microbiology.

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