Living matter circulates between the soil and the atmosphere, while energy flows in an ecosystem, allowing the exchange of gases and nutrients between microbes. Living organisms that break down dead and decaying matter and turn it into useful resources and nutrition for plants are called microorganisms or microbes. They can be seen under a microscope and this study is called microbiology.
Research around the character of microbes, such as evolution, behavior, physiology, and pathology, is addressed under microbiology. Understanding microorganisms has helped humanity in medical advances in drug formulations and vaccine development, and other important industries, such as the food and beverage sector.
Microbiology is now available in a virtual education format. Students may want to consider an online microbiology course taught by Dr. Sean Elliot.
Helpful and harmful microbes.
Microbial action can be both helpful and detrimental depending on the type of microorganism, time, temperature, and other conditions. Bacteria and fungi help break down dead matter and turn it into nutrient-rich compost for plants. During the decomposition process, inorganic molecules are released into the atmosphere. Animals and humans depend on the plants that grow in the rich organic soil for their nutrition. When they die, the cycle of living matter continues, making it possible to convert the dead into fossil fuels and other organic compounds that are essentially useful for sustaining life on the planet.
Germs are harmful to humans, animals, and plants and cause disease. They enter the body of the living organism and paralyze its physiological functions that are required to maintain a healthy being. For example, bacteria cause diarrhea, pneumonia, cholera, and plague. Chickenpox, colds, flu and measles are transmitted by viruses. The fungal attack causes athlete’s foot, ringworm, and skin infections. Food spoils from the spread of mold, fungus, and bacteria.
Importance of microbiology studies
Microbiologists help understand invisible microbes and help devise strategies to counter their harmful impact and use them as biosynthesizers in various fields such as fertilizers, hemp textile processing, leather tanneries, and the food industry. Some of the areas in which microbiology research has benefited are:
Pharmaceutical innovation in drug development underwent a sea change when microbiology was introduced as an important phase in the formulation of essential antibiotics, steroids and vaccines. Antibiotics are produced by microbes as part of their metabolic cycle. This antibiotic substance is extracted under laboratory conditions and used to make the necessary medicines that help humans and animals fight infections.
Vaccines help fight communicable viral diseases like the recent coronavirus. Polio and smallpox diseases are eradicated from the world through effective vaccination schedules followed by governments around the world. Microbiology helps prevent microbial contamination during the storage and handling stages of essential medicines.
The application of microbiology in the biotechnology industry prevails in all phases. Biotechnologists use microbes in the processing of products for a variety of sectors such as food, dietary supplements, textile manufacturing, paper, disease prevention, alternative fuels, environmental monitoring, and waste management. The use of microbial action in food processing is an old practice, now being used on a larger scale in the food processing industries.
Microbial biotechnology aids in genomics and DNA mapping to understand human disease and the enabling conditions that spread contamination. Genetic engineering is used to alter the DNA of microbes to produce viable drugs and vaccines.
Study tips and tricks
A science subject with a comprehensive curriculum presses the need for coherent and organized study methods. When a student learning microbiology develops a schedule to study microbiology on a regular basis, a portion of the syllabus is completed regularly and in time for revisiting. Attending classes and taking notes helps students clarify their doubts with the course instructor. By taking notes, important points can be highlighted or noted for future reference and review. One can make counter-ready notes at short points, use mnemonics and flashcards to easily memorize the extensive syllabus.
Microbiology online course.
Microbiology is broadly subdivided into two categories: pure and applied microbiology. Based on this classification, many microbiology courses are intended to teach some core areas as supplementary courses that are even used for continuing education purposes. Most of these courses are online, and few of them are available as free courses, often designed for self-paced learning. Here is a list of microbiology online courses that one can follow from anywhere:
Harvard University offers many microbiology certification courses that deal with applied science and are useful for anyone preparing for industry-related jobs. Most of these courses are free. A university-certified certificate can be obtained for a minimal fee by students who want it. The topics covered by these free online certification programs are:
Case studies in functional genomics
Introduction to bioconductors
Food fermentation: the art of cooking with microbes
Harvard’s commitment to bringing the best scientific concepts to students without discrimination and helping people access the body of knowledge has made these microbiology courses available as audio tracks online.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a pioneer in virtual education offering free microbiology courses online. His course on cell therapy and its applied uses help to understand stem cell therapy for microbiologists and researchers. Other cell therapies such as CAR-T are the new-age solutions for tissue culture therapeutics and the development of missing limbs and organs. The course teaches not only the microbiology aspect, but also the engineering and analytical chemistry behind the application of cell therapy.
CDCP E-Learning Series
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers e-learning series on microbiology courses that are comprehensive and can be used as continuing education units. The courses offered are devised by fellow researchers with quantified experience in the given topic. Some topics that are part of the microbiology eLearning series are:
Most of these courses are based on pure microbiology and will help to understand the basics.
Microbiology is exhaustive, however help is available and one should not deter approaching a professor if they do not understand the subject.