INTRODUCTION TO MICROBIOLOGY
Section I. INTRODUCTION
IMPORTANCE OF MICROBIOLOGY
a. Have you ever had a severe case of the flu? Flu is an outbreak of
microorganisms. Now, put yourself in the position of the patient who has come to the
window of your outpatient pharmacy. The fact is the patient is less concerned with the
fact that he has an infection and more concerned with how he is going to get well.
Nonetheless, that person and you have a direct interest in the field of microbiology at
b. Many of the prescriptions you will fill will be for drugs that affect
microorganisms. Penicillin, one of the best-known drugs used to fight infection, has
saved countless lives. Actually, many individuals who had severe infections before the
days of antibiotics died because no drugs were available to help them fight the
c. Infections are very important to the military. In some wars, more lives were
lost to diseases caused by microorganisms than were lost to bullets. Individuals who
work in the medical laboratory are responsible for identifying the microorganisms that
cause disease, while personnel who work in the pharmacy are responsible for
dispensing medications to combat these microbes. All members of the Army's health
care team must work together in the critical task of microbial infection control.
Like any field of study, microbiology has certain unique terms. In order to
understand texts or journals that pertain to microbiology, you must be familiar with the
terminology of the field. The terms below will serve as a foundation for your readings in
microbiology. You should consult a good biology or microbiology text to receive an
expanded explanation of these and other definitions related to microbiology.
a. Microbiology. Microbiology is the study of microorganisms. Scientists who
specialize in the study of microbes are called microbiologists.