The prominent applied branches of microbiology are classified as follows:
(i) Medical Microbiology: It deals with the study of causative agents of infectious diseases in human beings. It deals with etiology, pathogenesis, laboratory diagnosis, treatment, epidemiology, and control of infection. Medical microbiology has close links with other disciplines such as pathology, clinical medicine, pharmacology cum therapeutics, and preventive medicine.
(ii) Pharmaceutical Microbiology: It deals with the study of microorganisms that are responsible for the production of antibiotics, enzymes, vaccines, vitamins, and other pharmaceutical substances. It is also the study of microorganisms that can contaminate pharmaceutical products, raw materials, manufacturing areas, and foods. It includes the study of microorganisms that are used in the treatment of industrial waste material, ayurvedic plant growth promotion, steroid biotransformation, and biological indicators. It also includes methods of sterilization and disinfection, microbiological testing of pharmaceuticals, sterile product preparation, and diagnosis of diseases and treatment.
(iii) Industrial Microbiology: It is the study of industrially useful microorganisms in the production of alcoholic beverages, vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, antibiotics, and other drugs. It also includes fermentation techniques used for the production of different compounds. Breweries have greatly benefited by understanding the role of specific microbes in fermentation.
(iv) Microbial Biotechnology: It is the scientific manipulation of living organisms, especially at the molecular and genetic level to produce useful products such as antibiotics, enzymes, and amino acids.
(v) Food Microbiology: It deals with the interaction of microorganisms and food about food bioprocessing, food spoilage, foodborne diseases, and their prevention, and includes preparation and preservation of food products. Food microbiology also includes the study of the normal flora of foods, their significance, and the techniques used for the protection of food from microbial contamination.
(vi) Soil Microbiology: It is the study of microbial flora and the interactions among soil microorganisms. It also includes the biogeochemical role of soil microorganisms.
(vii) Agricultural Microbiology: It is the study of relationships between microorganisms and crops with an emphasis on the control of plant diseases and improvement of yields. Many microbial species under the group of fungi, bacteria, and viruses cause several plant diseases. Nitrogen-fixing microbes act as bio fertilizers that help to plant with growth and metabolism.
(viii) Aquatic Microbiology: Aquatic microbiology is the study of microorganisms and their activities in fresh and marine waters including lakes, rivers, bays, estuaries, and seas. It also includes water purification, microbiological examination, and biological degradation of wastes.
(ix) Air Microbiology: It deals with the role of aero sport in the contamination and spoilage of food and the dissemination of plant and animal diseases through the air. It also includes the microbial population in the air.
(x) Epidemiology: It is concerned with the monitoring, control, and spread of diseases in communities.
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