Microbiology-What does it mean? by Jacob B.
When hearing the words microbiology, some people get startled and confused as to what it means. What is it? Why is it important? Well despite what people may think, the microscopic world is full of exciting and valuable revelations ready to be made. Not only is there vast knowledge to gain but benefits that have already been reaped.
Something the world is very familiar with is antibiotics. Due to the discovery and exploitation of the world’s resources, humanity has benefited and furthered its success at survival. One thing to take note of is the vast world of microbial diversity. This “unseen world” significantly surpasses Eukaryotes in terms of their diversity and sheer population (Torsvik & Ovreas, 2002). To give you a real-life example, let's imagine we are outside playing on the grass. You happen to stumble over a mound that had been created by a mole or some small animal. You kick up some of that dirt due to the frustration of having tripped and about a sugar cube size of dirt gets on you. Can you guess how many organisms are present? In one gram of soil, there could be up to ten billion microorganisms, with the possibility of thousands of different species (Tosvik & Ovreas, 2002). To hear and read those numbers may come as a shock, but take a moment and think. Ten billion organisms in 1 gram of soil. For those with a curious mind, that number relays endless opportunities.
Scientists have gone to great lengths in order to find new sources for antibiotics, but there happens to be a large stumbling block. It is believed that 99% of microbial species still have not been discovered as well as the inability to culture a large amount of them (Bodor et al., 2020). What this means is that a large number of microorganisms or living organisms that cannot be seen with the naked eye, also cannot be grown in a lab, and tested by common methods. Regardless of this dilemma, science has pressed on and technology continues developing allowing for discovery to continue.
This example is but a small stake in microbial diversity and its importance to humanity, however, this is a wonderful gateway into realizing that there is a whole other world beyond what we see day-to-day. This unseen world affects our lives in many ways and will continue to have a significant impact.