- Microorganisms affect the well-being of people in great many ways.
- They occur in large numbers in most natural environments and bring about many changes, some desirable and some undesirable.
- They exhibit wide range of activities; from causing diseases in humans, other animals, and plants to the production and deposition of minerals, the formation of coal, and the enhancement of soil fertility.
- There are many more species of microorganisms that perform important roles in nature than there are disease-producing species.
A summary of the major fields of applied microbiology appears in the table below:
|Some applied areas
|Diagnostic procedures for identification of causative agents of various diseases and their preventive measures
|Water purification; microbiological examination of water; biological degradation of waste; ecology (marine and fresh water)
|Contamination and spoilage; dissemination of diseases
|Food preservation and preparation; food borne diseases and their prevention
|Soil fertility; factors determining soil fertility; plant and animal diseases
|Production of medicinal products such as antibiotics and vaccines; fermented beverages, industrial chemicals; production of proteins and hormones by genetically engineered microorganism
|Exploration of life in outer space
|Formation of coal, mineral oil and natural gas; prospecting for deposits of coal, oil, and gas; recovery of minerals from low-grade ores