What is Bacteriology?

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  • Written By: Dulce Corazon
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 13 June 2019
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Bacteriology is the study of bacteria. Bacteria are microscopic organisms composed of a single cell. They are generally referred to as microorganisms because they are so tiny that a microscope is often needed to visualize them. An individual who studies, identifies, and classifies bacteria is called a bacteriologist. He usually does his studies in the laboratory.

The microscope is an essential tool for many bacteriologists as it can magnify the minute organisms many times their actual size. The improvement of the microscope by Anton van Leeuwenhoek has opened the minute world of bacteria to everyone. It was in 1676 when Leeuwenhoek first discovered bacteria.

Different classes of bacteria have different requirements for growth. Some cannot survive extremes of temperatures, while others prefer very low or high temperatures. Many bacteria also differ in their oxygen needs and nutrient needs. Other ways to identify bacteria are through their appearance or shape, the substances they produce, and through their chemical reactions when tested in the laboratory. For example, rod-shaped bacteria are called bacilli, while round-shaped bacteria are known as cocci.


In bacteriology, the structure, functions, and growth of various bacteria have been discovered. Bacteriology has also explored the positive and negative impact of bacteria in the environment and in human beings. Another important function is the identification of bacteria that often cause disease in man and animals, and the mechanisms of how they bring about infection. This is an important aspect of bacteriology, which leads to the development of antibiotics or antibacterial drugs known to treat diseases caused by bacteria.

Bacteriology is a subcategory of microbiology, the study of microorganisms. Aside from bacteria, microbiology also studies fungi, viruses, and parasites in association to the diseases they cause in man. In medicine, microbiology and immunology are often studied together. Immunology deals with the responses of the immune system to the presence of microorganisms inside the body. Treatment and prevention of diseases are made possible because of these studies.

Patients suspected of having infectious diseases are often requested to submit samples such as blood, urine, sputum, and feces, for examination. In the laboratory, bacteriologists then grows the bacteria present in the sample by planting them in certain growth media. Strict and sterile procedures are usually observed in growing the bacteria in order to isolate the bacteria causing the disease and to prevent the bacteria from spreading around the laboratory. Once bacteria are identified, a proper diagnosis can be done and patients can be given the right antibiotic for treatment.


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Post 3

I think that some bacteriologists have been shifting the way they look at disease recently. I use a homeopathic treatment for depression and found out that the treatment was found by a bacteriologist who wanted to work on general health as well as targeting bacteria and other microorganisms that cause disease.

I think it's great that bacteriologists can look at health in both micro and macro terms and carry their knowledge of bacteria into other fields.

I also think that advancements in many fields would not be possible without the work of bacteriologists. Can you imagine a world without drug treatments and vaccines that save millions of lives every year?

Post 2

My sister is studying to be a veterinarian and she also has to learn about bacteria because she will have to treat different animal diseases caused by bacteria in the future.

She says that the bacteria in animals are sometimes similar to bacteria in humans and sometimes different. But they are found the same way by taking a sample of blood for example, and examined with a microscope at a lab. They are also treated the same way as human bacteria, with medications and antibiotics.

I guess human and animal bacteriologists basically do the same thing. I'm sure they have to work together too when there are bacteria that affect both animals and people.

Post 1

I think bacteriology is fascinating. What's most fascinating about it to me is how different bacteria act differently in different people. I was diagnosed last year with a stomach bacteria called helicobacter pylori that was making me sick and causing acid, nausea and vomiting.

The doctor said that more than 90% of people carry this exact bacteria but only a small percentage of people get sick from it. I was so surprised to hear this and ever since, I've been interested in bacteriology. It's amazing to me how these tiny creatures live within us and have the capacity to make us healthy or sick. I really want to be a bacteriologist, I hope to study bacteriology in college.

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