Biotechnology is one of the fastest growing industries in the first world, which means many job opportunities you will see will be in this field. However, you're unlikely to be hired on by a biotechnology firm, even to do sludge removal, if you don't know what microbiology is. This article will give you a brief overview of what microbiology is and how it relates to the field of biotechnology so you can prepare for your job interview with a major biotech firm.
At its most basic level, microbiology is the study of things that are too small to see. This usually involves taking a sample of a single cell, multi cell, or acellular (no celled) organism and culturing it for laboratory viewing by staining it with a dye, placing it on a slide, and examining it under a micro scope. Most microscopes used in biotechnology firms cost more than a new car, so you will have to be extremely careful to respect the equipment, whether you use a microscope for your job or not.
There are many different types of organisms that microbiologists study. They could be bacteria, viruses, fungus spores, parasites, or specialized body cells such as brain cells or muscle cells. Studying how these cells move, function, and react to different circumstances and stimuli gives biotechnologists the information they need to replicate these cells artificially or create devices for that work with the body's existing cells. Therefore, microbiology is an essential first step in any biotechnology project.
Researching microscopic bacteria that cause gum disease led to education on the importance of brushing your teeth twice a day, and flossing. Without this research, gum disease would be rampant today!
Image Source: Dentist London Ontario, Dental Studio
Because only a small part of the organisms on Earth are actually able to be cultured and even fewer of these are well understood by scientists, microbiology is a field that is growing in leaps and bounds. The more advances there are in biotechnology and medical technology, the more doors open in the study of other organisms, which in turn leads to more biotechnological developments that can improve both the microbiology field and treatments for illnesses.
If you're thinking of studying microbiology in university, the skills you learn can prepare you for a variety of different jobs in the biotechnology sector. Microbiology is an essential component of industrial microbiology, veterinary microbiology, medical microbiology, agricultural microbiology environmental microbiology, pharmaceutical microbiology, aeromicrobiology and epidemiology, just to name a few. So you will have many more options with that kind of an education.