Medical Microbiology is a branch of medicine that deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of infectious as well as non-infectious microbes. Medical microbiologists are concerned with clinical consultations on the investigation, principles of diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of infectious diseases; communicable disease prevention and epidemiology and related public health issues.
Clinical Microbiology is the study of any microbes which can cause infection in humans. As new microorganisms are being discovered all the time and they are developing more and more resistance to antibiotics, hence microbiologist aims at the application of various microbes for the improvement of human health.
Microorganisms that reside, form or contaminate the food are involved in the study of Food microbiology. It is concerned with the microorganisms causing food spoilage and the pathogens that may cause diseases especially if food is improperly cooked or stored. These also include the microorganisms which are used to produce fermented food products such as bread, yogurt, cheese, wine and beer and those with other beneficial/ useful roles such as producing probiotics.
Microorganisms have been exploited for their specific biochemical and physiological properties from the earliest times for baking, brewing, and food preservation and more recently for producing antibiotics, solvents, amino acids, feed supplements, and chemical feedstuffs. Microbial Genomics is the transmission of hereditary information in microorganisms. It plays a particular role in developing the fields of cellular and molecular biology. Genomics is used to study microbial evolution or outbreaks of microbial infections. Molecular Microbiology entails 3 major aspects: Molecular biology, Microbial Physiology, and Genetics. It deals with the inter-dependent microbial & molecular interactions, for instance, signaling in bacteria and Gene therapy in Viruses; which are both essential in treating genetic diseases with the assistance of viral vectors.
Environmental microbiology deals with the study of all microorganisms in our surrounding environment. It generally includes air microbiology, water microbiology and soil microbiology. The effects of microorganisms in the environment can be beneficial or harmful to human measures. The beneficial effects of microorganisms derived from metabolic activities from the environment and its associations with animals, plants and by their utilization in food production and biotechnological processes.
Veterinary Microbiology deals with the study of diseases caused on vertebrates domesticated animals that provide us food, other useful products and companionship. eg: Bovines, poultry animals. As some diseases are zoonotic in nature, so may cause serious threat to humans. The wild animals with microbial disease in the living locality should be considered as it may affect the human beings and other animals. It deals with the treatment and other preventive measures.
Agricultural Microbiology deals with plant diseases & plant-associated microbes. It is also concerned with the microbiology of soil fertility such as soil nutrient transformations and microbial degradation of organic matter. Microbes affect soil structure and fertility & can also fix the nitrogen which results in the release of oxygen into the atmosphere. Some of the soil microorganism like actinomycetes has the ability to produce antibiotics like Streptomycin, neomycin, erythromycin and tetracycline etc.
Pharmaceutical Microbiology involves the association of microorganisms with manufacturing of pharmaceutical products such as drugs and antibiotics. It is concerned with the use of microorganisms in the manufacture of pharmaceutical products like insulin and human growth hormone, research and development of anti-infective agents, and the use of microbes to detect mutagenic and carcinogenic activity in prospective drugs.
Bioinformatics combines computer science, statistics, mathematics, and engineering to analyse and interpret biological data. It involves the application of information technology to the biological data, particularly genomics & molecular biology. Bioinformatics involves the principles within nucleic acid and protein sequences called proteomics. Systems biology basically drives constant innovation in biology-based technology and computation.
Molecular pathogenesis research involves the study of host and pathogen interactions at cellular and molecular levels with application to understand the emerging infectious disease agents, virulence factors and host resistance to pathogens. The range of complex molecular relationships involved in host-symbiotic and host-pathogen interactions is also an important area of concern. Molecular pathology is used in diagnosis of cancer and infectious diseases.
Immunization is the process where a person is made resistant or immune to an infectious disease by the administration of a vaccine. Vaccines provoke body’s own immune system to protect the person against a particular infection or disease. Immunization is a proven tool for controlling or eliminating life-threatening infectious diseases.
Diagnostic microbiology involves the study of microbial identification. Culture Techniques, Biochemical processes, Serodiagnosis and Antimicrobial Susceptibility test are different methods used in diagnosis of various micro-organisms. Molecular diagnostic techniques are most appropriately used to analyse biological markers in the genome and proteome.
Antimicrobial chemotherapy is concerned with the clinical application of antimicrobial agents to treat infectious disease. It mainly deals with the underlying mechanisms and therapeutic applications of antimicrobial & antiparasitic agents and chemotherapy. Antimicrobial drugs act in one of several ways: by inhibition of protein synthesis, by selective toxicity, by inhibition of nucleic acid synthesis, or by inhibition of cell membrane synthesis and function.