AskDefine | Define bacteriology

Dictionary Definition

bacteriology n : the branch of medical science that studies bacteria in relation to disease

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. The scientific study of bacteria, especially in relation to disease and agriculture.


scientific study of bacteria
  • Albanian: bakteriologji
  • Croatian: bakteriologija
  • French: bactériologie
  • German: Bakterienkunde
  • Greek: βακτηριολογία
  • Japanese: 細菌学
  • Portuguese: bacteriologia
  • Russian: бактериология

See also

Extensive Definition

Microbiology is the study of microorganisms, which are unicellular or cell-cluster microscopic organisms. This includes eukaryotes such as fungi and protists, and prokaryotes such as bacteria and certain algae. Viruses, though not strictly classed as living organisms, are also studied. Microbiology is a broad term which includes virology, mycology, parasitology and other branches. A microbiologist is a specialist in microbiology.
Microbiology is actively researched, and the field is advancing continually. We have probably only studied about one percent of all of the microbe species on Earth. Although microbes were first observed over three hundred years ago, the field of microbiology can be said to be in its infancy relative to older biological disciplines such as zoology and botany.



The existence of microorganisms was hypothesized for many centuries before their actual discovery in the 17th century. The first theories on microorganisms was made by Roman scholar Marcus Terentius Varro in a book titled On Agriculture in which he warns against locating a homestead in the vicinity of swamps: This passage seems to indicate that the ancients were aware of the possibility that diseases could be spread by yet unseen organisms.
In The Canon of Medicine (1020), Abū Alī ibn Sīnā (Avicenna) stated that bodily secretion is contaminated by foul foreign earthly bodies before being infected. He also hypothesized on the contagious nature of tuberculosis and other infectious diseases, and used quarantine as a means of limiting the spread of contagious diseases.
When the Black Death bubonic plague reached al-Andalus in the 14th century, Ibn Khatima hypothesized that infectious diseases are caused by "minute bodies" which enter the human body and cause disease.
The field of bacteriology (later a subdiscipline of microbiology) is generally considered to have been founded by Ferdinand Cohn (1828–1898), a botanist whose studies on algae and photosynthetic bacteria led him to describe several bacteria including Bacillus and Beggiatoa. Cohn was also the first to formulate a scheme for the taxonomic classification of bacteria. Louis Pasteur (18221895) and Robert Koch (18431910) were contemporaries of Cohn’s and are often considered to be the founders of medical microbiology. Pasteur is most famous for his series of experiments designed to disprove the then widely held theory of spontaneous generation, thereby solidifying microbiology’s identity as a biological science. Pasteur also designed methods for food preservation (pasteurization) and vaccines against several diseases such as anthrax, fowl cholera and rabies. While his work on the Tobacco Mosaic Virus established the basic principles of virology, it was his development of enrichment culturing that had the most immediate impact on microbiology by allowing for the cultivation of a wide range of microbes with wildly different physiologies. Winogradsky was the first to develop the concept of chemolithotrophy and to thereby reveal the essential role played by microorganisms in geochemical processes. He was responsible for the first isolation and description of both nitrifying and nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
A variety of biopolymers, such as polysaccharides, polyesters, and polyamides, are produced by microorganisms. Microorganisms are used for the biotechnological production of biopolymers with tailored properties suitable for high-value medical application such as tissue engineering and drug delivery. Microorganisms are used for the biosynthesis of xanthan, alginate, cellulose, cyanophycin, poly(gamma-glutamic acid), levan, hyaluronic acid, organic acids, oligosaccharides and polysaccharide, and polyhydroxyalkanoates.
Microorganisms are beneficial for microbial biodegradation or bioremediation of domestic, agricultural and industrial wastes and subsurface pollution in soils, sediments and marine environments. The ability of each microorganism to degrade toxic waste depends on the nature of each contaminant. Since most sites are typically comprised of multiple pollutant types, the most effective approach to microbial biodegradation is to use a mixture of bacterial species and strains, each specific to the biodegradation of one or more types of contaminants.
There are also various claims concerning the contributions to human and animal health by consuming probiotics (bacteria potentially beneficial to the digestive system) and/or prebiotics (substances consumed to promote the growth of probiotic microorganisms).


Further reading

  • Medicine, health, and bioethics : essential primary sources
  • Bio-Communication of Bacteria and its Evolutionary Interrelations to Natural Genome Editing Competences of Viruses.
bacteriology in Afrikaans: Mikrobiologie
bacteriology in Aragonese: Microbiolochía
bacteriology in Arabic: علم الأحياء الدقيقة
bacteriology in Asturian: Microbioloxía
bacteriology in Bulgarian: Микробиология
bacteriology in Catalan: Microbiologia
bacteriology in Czech: Mikrobiologie
bacteriology in Danish: Mikrobiologi
bacteriology in German: Mikrobiologie
bacteriology in Modern Greek (1453-): Μικροβιολογία
bacteriology in Esperanto: Mikrobiologio
bacteriology in Spanish: Microbiología
bacteriology in Basque: Mikrobiologia
bacteriology in Finnish: Mikrobiologia
bacteriology in Faroese: Smáverulívfrøði
bacteriology in French: Microbiologie
bacteriology in Irish: Micribhitheolaíocht
bacteriology in Hebrew: מיקרוביולוגיה
bacteriology in Croatian: Mikrobiologija
bacteriology in Indonesian: Mikrobiologi
bacteriology in Iloko: Microbiolohia
bacteriology in Italian: Microbiologia
bacteriology in Japanese: 微生物学
bacteriology in Korean: 미생물학
bacteriology in Kurdish: Hûrjînewerzanist
bacteriology in Latin: Microbiologia
bacteriology in Lithuanian: Mikrobiologija
bacteriology in Latvian: Mikrobioloģija
bacteriology in Macedonian: Микробиологија
bacteriology in Dutch: Microbiologie
bacteriology in Norwegian: Mikrobiologi
bacteriology in Occitan (post 1500): Microbiologia
bacteriology in Polish: Mikrobiologia
bacteriology in Portuguese: Microbiologia
bacteriology in Quechua: Mikru Kawsay Yachay
bacteriology in Romanian: Microbiologie
bacteriology in Russian: Микробиология
bacteriology in Simple English: Microbiology
bacteriology in Slovenian: Mikrobiologija
bacteriology in Albanian: Mikrobiologjia
bacteriology in Serbian: Микробиологија
bacteriology in Sundanese: Mikrobiologi
bacteriology in Swedish: Mikrobiologi
bacteriology in Thai: จุลชีววิทยา
bacteriology in Tagalog: Mikrobiyolohiya
bacteriology in Turkish: Mikrobiyoloji
bacteriology in Ukrainian: Мікробіологія
bacteriology in Vietnamese: Vi sinh vật học
bacteriology in Chinese: 微生物学

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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