Microbiology and History
Microbiology is the study of microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, fungi, and protists. It also includes the study of viruses, which are not technically classified as living organisms but do contain genetic material. Microbiology research encompasses all aspects of these microorganisms such as their behavior, evolution, ecology, biochemistry, and physiology, along with the pathology of diseases that they cause.
History of Microbiology
Scientists first observed microorganisms when the first primitive microscopes were developed during the 17th Century. Anton von Leeuwenhoek was the first to publish observations of bacteria, which he viewed by looking at water with a microscope. In 1684, his drawings of bacteria were published in the Royal Society of London’s journal Philosophical Transactions; these are the first known drawings of bacteria. He was also first to describe protozoa, which are single-celled organisms that include amoebae, and also described yeast, which are fungi, in beer.
Microbiology techniques used to disprove the long-held theory of spontaneous generation in the 19th Century. Spontaneous generation was the belief that living things arose spontaneously from a combination of ingredients, often including ingredients that were inorganic. For example, people believed that mice arose from soiled cloth combined with wheat if the combination was left out to sit. Although scientists such as Francesco Redi had disproven spontaneous generation as early as the 17th Century, belief in the theory persisted up to the 19th Century. This started to change when Louis Pasteur conducted experiments using microorganisms. He showed that microorganisms could be filtered out of air by using cotton wool, and he was also able to keep liquids sterile for an extended period of time by boiling them in a swan-necked flask. Other important advancements in the 19th Century included the widespread use of the compound microscope and the development of staining techniques in order to better visualize microorganisms. In addition, people began to realize that microorganisms could cause disease, and did experiments on immunity.
The 20th Century was a time of great advancement for all forms of science, including microbiology. The first vaccines and antibiotics were developed, and the first chemotherapeutic agents were used to treat bacterial diseases such as syphilis. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) was discovered to be the genetic material of the cell, which opened up the field of genetics research and allowed more recently for sequencing the genomes of microorganisms.
Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation