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Microbiology Introduction

Categories Microbiology Q&A Format


Short Answers

  • Write four pharmaceutical uses of microorganisms?
  • State Koch’s postulates?
  • List out harmful effects of microorganisms?
  • Write any four applications of Microbiology?
  • Name the major divisions of the microbial world?
  • Write contributions of Antony Van Leeuwenhoek?
  • Write contributions of Edward Jenner?
  • Write contributions of Robert Koch?
  • Write contributions of Louis Pasteur?
  • Write contributions of Alexander Fleming?
  • Write the concept of spontaneous generation?


Pharmaceutical uses of microorganisms:

  • The manufacture of antibiotics, steroids, therapeutic enzymes, polysaccharides, products of rDNA technology
  • Use in the production of vaccines
  • As assay organisms to determine antibiotic, vitamin and amino acid concentrations
  • To detect mutagenic or carcinogenic activity.

Koch’s postulates:

  • The bacterium should be constantly associated with lesions of the disease
  • It should be possible to isolate the bacterium in pure culture from the lesions
  • Inoculation of such pure culture into suitable laboratory animals should reproduce the lesions of the disease
  • It should be possible to reisolate the bacterium in pure culture from the lesions produced in the experimental animals.

Harmful effects of microorganisms:

  • May contaminate non-sterile and sterile medicines with a risk of infection
  • Cause infectious and other diseases
  • May contaminate non-sterile and sterile medicines with a risk of product deterioration
  • Cause pyrogenic reactions (fever) when introduced into the body even in the absence of infection
  • Provide a reservoir of antibiotic resistance genes.

Applications of Microbiology:

  • Food fermentation Eg. Bread, fermented meat, and dairy products
  • Food additives Eg. Single cell protein (SCP)
  • Production of enzymes
  • Production of organic solvents
  • Production of fuels and biogas
  • Production of biofertilizers and biopesticides.

Major divisions of microbial world:
Microorganisms were classified under a third kingdom, the protista. Based on differences in cellular organisation and biochemistry. The kingdom protista has been divided into two groups, Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes.
Prokaryotes – Bacteria and cyan bacteria (blue-green algae)
Eukaryotes – Fungi, other algae, slime moulds, and protozoa.

Antony van Leeuwenhoek
A largely self-taught man in science, he is commonly known as the Father of Microbiology, and one of the first microscopists and microbiologists. Using single-lensed microscopes of his own design, van Leeuwenhoek was the first to experiment with microbes, which he originally referred to as animalcules. He set down accurate descriptions of various types of bacteria and communicated them to the Royal society of London.

Edward Jenner was an English physician and scientist who was the pioneer of smallpox vaccine, the world’s first vaccine. Jenner is often called the Father of Immunology, and his work is said to have saved more lives than the work of any other human.

Robert Koch was a German physician and microbiologist. He identified the specific causative agents of tuberculosis, cholera, and anthrax and gave experimental support for the concept of infectious disease, which included experiments on humans and animals. Koch created and improved laboratory technologies and techniques in the field of microbiology. His research led to the creation of Koch’s postulates.

Louis Pasteur was a French biologist, microbiologist and chemist renowned for his discoveries of the principles of vaccination, microbial fermentation and pasteurization. He is remembered for his remarkable breakthroughs in the causes and prevention of diseases, and his discoveries have saved many lives ever since. His medical discoveries provided direct support for the germ theory of disease and its application in clinical medicine.

Alexander Fleming was a Scottish physician, microbiologist, and pharmacologist. His best known discoveries are the enzyme lysozyme and the world’s first antibiotic substance benzylpenicillin (Penicillin G) from the mould Penicillium notatum. He wrote many articles on bacteriology, immunology, and chemotherapy.

Spontaneous generation, an obsolete theory that states that living organisms can originate from inanimate objects
Eg. Dust creates fleas, and maggots arise from rotting meat.

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