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Microbiology

Microbiology is a branch of Biology that includes the study of growth, characteristics and various other aspects related to the life cycle of micro organisms such as protozoa, algae, fungi, bacteria and viruses. In other words, it is the study of microscopic organisms. Micro-organisms are very small organisms which are not visible through naked eye. Sometimes they are even referred to as microbes as they are studied under microscope, being very small in appearance. Microbiology is a broad term which includes many branches like Bacteriology, Virology, Mycology, Parasitology (a part of Protozoology, as some parasites are protozoa) and others. There are both harmful and beneficial microbes on the earth. There are certain microbes which cause infectious diseases while some others are used as a source of antibiotics or vitamins. Some cause food spoilage while others are responsible for nitrogen fixation from the atmosphere. Some produce enzymes that convert complex materials into simple substances, helping in the disposal of wastes. A person who specializes in the area of Microbiology is called as Microbiologist. The task of microbiologists involves investigation of the fascinating world of micro organisms or microbes. Microbiologists explore the relationship of micro organisms with other creatures and their consequence on the life of human beings. A microbiologist is a scientist who studies living organisms and infectious agents many of which can only be seen through a microscope. Microbiologists play a significant role in the society, as they are the people who conduct research on the positive as well as negative effects of microorganisms on humanity. Everyday microbiologists around the world explore, investigate and discover how these organisms, exist and affect our lives. They have been responsible for the development of vaccines, antiserums against a wide variety of diseases including small pox, typhoid, whooping cough, polio, measles etc. The study of microbiology is comprehensive in nature. Microbiologists can specialize in a variety of areas. They can further specialize in the study of micro-organisms in the fields of their interest such as bacteriology-study of bacteria, mycology-study of fungi, Protozoology-study of protozoa and virology - study of viruses. Eligibility Microbiology being a science subject can be pursued by candidates with background in science at higher secondary level. B.Sc. and further M.Sc. courses and Ph.D can be taken up at the institutions and universities offering these courses. Candidates who have passed 12th or equivalent with Biology or Mathematics as one of their subjects can opt for under graduate courses. For post graduate courses the students who have passed B.Sc with Life Science/Microbiology are eligible. Micro organisms can be studied from the point of view of taxonomy (Classification of organisms into groups), morphology (Study of its shape and structure), bio chemistry (study of the chemical processes within organisms), physiology (study of functions of cells, tissues & organs), ecology (study of how organisms interact with their environment), genetics (study of inheritance and variation in organisms) or other aspects. At the undergraduate and graduate level studies will touch topics like bacterial genetics and physiology, inorganic and organic chemistry, immunology, analytical chemistry, genetics etc. These courses involve many hours of lab work and independent research, especially in Ph.D. programs. Elective courses in microbiology and related subjects may vary depending upon the students specific interests. For instance, if it is agricultural microbiology the student will need to study botany and plant pathology and if he/she is interested in working in chemical industries, a course in chemical engineering engineering might be more suitable. Personal skill: Microbiology is regarded as a research oriented field that requires utmost dedication apart from having scientific and analytical temper, interest in research, observant attitude and determination. So people with these qualities can opt for this career. Along with this, candidates must possess diligence, ability to work in a team of professionals, good communication skills and hard work. Good mathematical and computational skills are of added advantage.

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