SBI173 Microbiology

Microorganisms have an extremely important role in industry, agriculture, genetic engineering and health. Although the beneficial aspects of microbes far outweigh the harmful aspects, these organisms are more often associated with disease in both plants and animals, including humans. It is true that in the past there have been epidemics of microbial infections that have had catastrophic effects on large populations. For example, bubonic plague in Europe and the potato famine in Ireland. Nevertheless, the importance of microorganisms in maintaining health (e.g. normal flora), providing essential nutrients (eg. symbiotic relationships) and as a tool in genetic engineering cannot be ignored even when studying organisms that do cause disease.

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