Microbiology, from Greek words Mikros means small and bios mean life and logia mean to study, is the study of living organisms that are too small to be seen by naked eyes and requires a special instrument called microscope to observe them clearly.

Medical microbiology is the study of microbes that infect humans, the diseases they cause, and their diagnosis, prevention, and treatment. It also deals with the interaction of host to microbial and other antigens.

The discoverer of the microbial world was Antony van Leeuwenhoek, a draper in Delft, Holland. He accomplished this with the microscope he made himself. His report on microbes enabled Louis Pasteur, 200years later, to discover the involvement of these creatures in fermentation reactions and Robert Koch, Louis Pasteur, Edward Jenner and others discovered the association of microbes with diseases.

Microbiology includes the study of –

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Fungi
  • Algae
  • Parasites


Antoine van LeeuwenhoekFather of microbiologyFirst to observe and experiment with microscopic organisms
Louis PasteurFather of Modern microbiology; Father of industrial microbiologyDeveloped the germ theory of disease, pasteurization, established that fermentation was caused by microbial agents, contributed in the development of steam sterilizer, autoclave and hot air oven, coined the term ‘vaccine’
Edward JennerFather of ImmunologyDiscovered and applied vaccination techniques against smallpox
Wendell Meredith StanleyFather of VirologyProposed methods of obtaining bacteria in pure cultures using solid media developed staining techniques and discovered Anthrax bacillus, tubercle bacillus and the cholera vibrios.
Pier Antonio MicheliFather of MycologyDiscovered the spores of mushrooms and coined several important genera of micro fungi including Aspergillus and botrytis.
Joseph ListerFather of antiseptic surgeryCreated and applied aseptic surgical technique
Paul EhrlichFather of modern Immunology and ChemotherapyDiscovered ‘salvarsan’ and ‘neosalvarsan’, applied stains to cells and tissues for study of their functions.
Alexander FlemingFather of AntibioticsDiscovered penicillin and its curative effect in various infectious diseases
Francisco RediFather of modern Parasitology First person to challenge the theory of spontaneous generation by demonstrating that maggots come from eggs of flies, first to recognize and correctly describe details of about 180 parasites.
Robert Koch Father of Bacteriology, Father of Medical MicrobiologyProposed methods of obtaining bacteria in pure cultures using solid media, developed staining techniques and discovered Anthrax bacillus, tubercle bacillus and the cholera vibrios.


Dr. Robert Koch was the first to link a specific microbe with a specific disease. His procedure for defining the causative agent of any disease is known as KOCH’s POSTULATES consists of following four steps:-

  • A specific organism can always be found in association with a given disease and present in abundance in all the organisms suffering from the disease, but should not be found in healthy individuals.
  • It should be possible to isolate the specific microbe associated with disease and grown in pure cultures in the laboratory.
  • Inoculation of the isolated organism in pure culture into a healthy organism should produce a similar disease.
  • The microorganism must be reisolated from the inoculated, diseased experimental host and identified as being identical to the original specific causative agent.

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