What is Microbiology?

It is a branch of biology that studies microorganisms like viruses, archaea, protozoa, bacteria, parasites, and fungi. The field is all about the classification, function, structure of the extremely small and tiny life-creatures. It also finds ways to exploit and control the activities of the microorganisms.

The discovery of the microorganisms is of high significance in the development of Microbiology (MB). The famous term microbe finds its usage from the 19th century only. As time passed by, the field emerged as a specialized science and eventually made discoveries that microbe is not a single but an enormously diverse group of organisms.

Significance of Microbiology

Our lives have close connections with microscopic organisms. Their presence is not only on the internal and external surfaces of the human body but also in the sea, water, and air. You can see their presence in the form of food decays, diseases, and fermentation of bread and beer.

The field helps in the production of healthcare products like insulin and antimicrobials. These microorganisms play a vital role in the Earth’s ecological system by decomposing animal and plant remains into recyclable materials for other organisms.

Brief History of MB

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

The discovery of the microscope by Antonie van Leeuwenhoek led to the development of MB. He provided brief and precise descriptions of the protozoa and bacteria with the help of his 200 times magnifiable lens of high quality.

The microbiologist sent his findings as a series of letters to the British Royal society during the mid-16th century, and they remained as theories till the 18th century.

Spontaneous Generation

The field of MB did not witness any improvements after the death of Antonie van Leeuwenhoek as the microscopes were a rare phenomenon, and the interest in microorganisms did not exist. During that era, scientists held deliberations regarding the theory of spontaneous generation. It states that microbes arise from non-living matters like beef broth.

Francesco Redi proved the theory wrong by demonstrating that maggots don’t arise from decayed meat. John Needham and Lazzaro Spallanzani contradicted the theory by displaying that the boiled broth would not give rise to microorganisms.

Germ Theory of Louis Pasteur

He discovered that the bacteria were the reason why wine and dairy products turn sour. Pasteur’s discovery turned the attention of scientists towards the significance of bacteria in our daily lives. They started interpreting that if bacteria could turn wine sour, it can also cause illness in human beings.

Pasteur disputed the spontaneous generation theory by a series of swan-necked flask experiments, which stated that the tiny organisms are the reason for the occurrence of infectious diseases. Unfortunately, his attempts were not successful.

Robert Koch

The German Scientist proved Pasteur’s theory right by injecting pure bacilli cultures into the mice that caused anthrax in them. Today it is popularly known as Koch’s postulates, which proved that microorganisms have relations to several diseases.

Pasteur and Koch’s period indicates the Golden Period of MB.


The introduction of antibiotics after World War two cured many diseases like syphilis, meningitis, pneumonia, and TB. Progressions with virus discovery did not happen until the invention of the electron microscope in 1940. The discovery of viruses led to the development of vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, and polio.


The above information outlines the history of microbiology, which depicts how the field has evolved to date. Be a part of MB by enrolling at Institutions to acquire Ph.D. Microbiology. The college offers the best and comprehensive doctorate courses that help you to become successful research or teaching professional.