Scope of Microbiology

Scope of microbiology can be divided into two dimensions, in which, first can be according to the variety of microbes and second can be according to the types of jobs or work microbiologists do.

Variety of microbes

  • Bacteria are the unicellular organisms which can only be seen under microscopes. They belong to the kingdom monera. They lack nucleus in the cell. Majority of them absorb nutrients from their environment, but some may have autotrophic mode of nutrition.
  • Archaea are also single celled organisms belonging to class monera. They are different from bacteria in being favorable to living in extreme temperatures, pH, salinities, hydrostatics and osmotic pressures.
  • Algae are unicellular microscopic organisms but some may be large enough to be seen from the naked eyes. They can be found both marine and fresh water. Their mode of nutrition is autotrophic. Unlike bacteria, they have a clear nucleus present in the cell. It is the main source of food for other organisms. Prototheca cause diseases in humans.
  • Fungi are unicellular or multicellular, microscopic or macroscopic organisms. They have clear nucleus in their cell. They absorb nutrient from environment. Many of them are source of infectious diseases in humans, and some of them can be used for synthesizing antibiotics.
  • Viruses are too small that even it is difficult to observe them under light microscopes. They are made up of nucleic acid and some proteins. They are active only inside the host cells, i.e., they can only replicate inside the host cells. Most of the viruses are the source of diseases in humans, plants and other animals. Viroids are further smaller than viruses which cause diseases and are only nucleic acid without protein, whereas prions are only proteins without nucleic acid.
  • Protozoa are the unicellular microorganisms having clear nucleus and some intracellular components. Some of the species such as amoeba are large enough to be seen from naked eyes. Many of them cause diseases in humans. They can be easily found in water, soils and in host animals such as mosquitoes.


Microbiologists do varieties of works. Some of them research for the structure of the microorganisms, while some studies about the pathogenic factors in the microbes. Microbiologists play a key role in developing vaccines and in the development of medicines for the treatment of diseases. Microbiologists also plays a key role in development and manufacturing of antibiotics and some other important pharmaceutical products such as human insulin, blood clotting factors, etc. The result of any research in one field of microbiology works as the basis of research and development of other fields of microbiology. In this way, all the fields of microbiology are interconnected and interdependent with each other.


Branches of microbiology

Microbiology has two major branches: Basic research microbiology and applied microbiology

I. Basic research microbiology

1. By organism kinds

  • Microbial taxonomy
  • Bacteriology
  • Phycology
  • Mycology
  • Protozoology
  • Parasitology
  • Virology


2. By process

  • Microbial ecology
  • Microbial genetics
  • Microbial metabolism


3. Related with diseases

  • Immunology
  • Epidemiology
  • Etiology


II. Applied microbiology

1. Environmental microbiology

2. Disease related microbiology

  • Infection control
  • Chemotherapy

3. Industrial microbiology

  • Genetic engineering
  • Pharmaceutical microbiology
  • Food and beverage technologies

The above image is taken only for educational purpose from Microbiology Principles and 
Exploration by Jacquelyn G. Black.

Importance of microbiology

The importance of microbiology can be understood by discussing three major aspects:

1. Mass production of organic chemical entities:

Production of fermentation products is very important part in the food industries. The science of fermentation is related with microbiology. Preparation of aseptic media and introduction of microbial agents in the media, process of fermentation under sterile condition all include under microbiology.

2. Pharmaceutical products:

Pharmaceutical products including many antibiotics, vitamin supplements, human insulin, blood clotting factors, blood thinning factors and many other important products are possible due to the science of microbiology.

3. Microbial enzyme technology:

Microbial enzyme technology has helped in understanding the relationship between many microorganisms. The branch helps in getting such extracellular enzymes which can be used for cleaving particular chemical entities. Microorganisms like Bacillus mesenterious can be used to obtain enzymes such as proteases and amylases.



1. Archaea belongs to?

a. Monera

b. Protista

c. Fungi

d. Animalia

2. Mode of nutrition of fungi is?

a. Photoautotrophic

b. Chemoautotrophic

c. Heterotrophic

d. Both a and b

3. Mycology is the study of?

a. Bacteria

b. Fungi

c. Algae

d. Pteridophytes

4. Algae are?

a. Autotrophic prokaryotes

b. Autotrophic eukaryotes

c. Heterotrophic prokaryotes

d. Heterotrophic eukaryotes

5. Prions are?

a. Only nucleic acid without proteins

b. Only proteins without nucleic acid

c. Nucleic acid surrounded by protiens

d. Protein surrounded by nucleic acid

6. Which of the following branches are the part of microbiology?

I. Bacteriology

II. Epidemiology

III. Food and beverage technology

IV. Etiology

a. I, III, IV

b. II, IV

c. I, II, III, IV

d. I, II, III

7. What can be the correct sequence for true/false for the given statements?

I. Bacteria have clear distinct nucleus.

II. Archaea can  withstand in extreme conditions.

III. Viruses can be seen by using light microscope.

IV. Microorganisms like Bacillus mesenterious can be used to obtain enzymes such as proteases and amylases.






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[1] Black JG, Black LJ. Microbiology: principles and explorations. John Wiley & Sons; 2018 Jan 4.


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