This branch deals with microbes that cause diseases in humans
and animals. Researchers examine factors that make the microbes
virulent and mechanisms for inhibiting them.
Public Health Microbiology and Epidemiology
These branches monitor and control the spread of diseases
in communities. Institutions involved in this concern are the
U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) with its main agency, the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) located in
Atlanta, Georgia, and the World Health Organization (WHO), the
medical limb of the United Nations.
This branch studies the complex web of protective substances and
cells produced in response to infection. It includes such diverse
areas as vaccination, blood testing, and allergy
This branch safeguards our food and water, and also includes
biotechnology, the use of microbial metabolism to arrive at a desired
product, ranging from bread making to gene therapy. Microbes can
be used to create large quantities of substances such as amino acids,
beer, drugs, enzymes, and vitamins.
Agricultural MicrobiologyThis branch is concerned with the relationships between microbes
and domesticated plants and animals.
Plant specialists focus on plant diseases, soil fertility, and
Animal specialists work with infectious diseases and other
associations animals have with microorganisms.
Environmental MicrobiologyThese microbiologists study the effect of microbes on the earth’s
diverse habitats. Whether the microbes are in freshwater or saltwater,
topsoil or the earth’s crust, they have profound effects on our planet.
Subdisciplines of environmental microbiology are Aquatic microbiology—the study of microbes in the earth’s
surface water Soil microbiology—the study of microbes in terrestrial parts of
the planet Geomicrobiology—the study of microbes in the earth’s crust
and Astrobiology (also known as exobiology)—the search for/study
of microbial and other life in places off of our planet