Microbiology is the study of microscopic organisms, those being unicellular (single cell), multicellular (cell colony), or acellular (lacking cells). Microbiology encompasses numerous sub-disciplines including virology, mycology, parasitology, and bacteriology. While some fear microbes due to the association of some microbes with various human illnesses, many microbes are also responsible for numerous beneficial processes such as industrial fermentation (e.g. the production of alcohol, vinegar and dairy products), antibiotic production and as vehicles for cloning in more complex organisms such as plants. Scientists have also exploited their knowledge of microbes to produce biotechnologically important enzymes such as Taq polymerase, reporter genes for use in other.
Microorganisms are beneficial for microbial biodegradation or bioremediation of domestic, agricultural and industrial wastes and subsurfa0ce pollution in soils, sediments and marine environments. The ability of each microorganism to degrade toxic waste depends on the nature of each contaminant. Since sites typically have multiple pollutant types, the most effective approach to microbial biodegradation is to use a mixture of bacterial and fungal species and strains, each specific to the biodegradation of one or more types of contaminants.
Some benefit may be conferred by consuming fermented foods, probiotics (bacteria potentially beneficial to the digestive system) and/or prebiotics. The ways the microbiome influences human and animal health, as well as methods to influence the microbiome are active areas of research.