Who is the father of microbiology and why?
Microbiology is the study of living organisms that are too small to be seen with naked eyes. These microbes include archaea, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and fungi among others. Microbes aren’t always dangerous to human health. In fact, they play a key role in biodegradation and nutrient cycling. They can also be put to work in different ways with an aim to create a sustainable environment.
Microbiology has been around for ages. It began when the first microscope was invented. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek is globally acknowledged as the father of microbiology. He not only invented the first single-lens microscope, but he was also the first microbiologist to read and record the first microscopic observations. He was the first to discover bacteria and protists. His descriptions and drawings contained protozoans from animal guts and bacteria from teeth scrapings.
While his discoveries stimulated much interest, nobody made an attempt to take them seriously. The discoveries, therefore, remained just oddities of nature to his fellow scientists of the day. At that time, the study of microbes continued but grew slowly. This continued for decades until the 18th century when a well-established controversy about whether life could be created from non-living things was revived. It’s at this time that the importance of micro-organisms in the ecosystem and the health and welfare of human beings became more evident.
Why Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek is Acknowledged as the Father of Microbiology
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek made multiple contributions in the field of microbiology which earned him the title “Father of Microbiology”. He not only laid the foundation of plant anatomy but also became a specialist in animal reproduction. Additionally, he studied the structure of wood and crystals and discovered different blood cells plus microscopic nematodes.
Antoni van Leeuwenhoek other main inventions include:
- The infusoria (protists in modern zoological classification) took place in the year 1674.
- Bacteria such as the large Selenomonads found in the human mouth and other micro-organisms found in water. This happened in 1676.
- The spermatozoa in 1677. During this invention, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek had some problems with the Dutch theologists about whether his practice was good.
- The banded pattern of muscular fibers took place in 1682.
Microbiology in the 20th Century
In early 1900, microbiology was established in America. Once established, it thrived, particularly with regard to other related disciplines which included biochemistry, biotechnology, and genetics.
Since 1940, the field of microbiology has been highly productive. It’s during this period that most disease-causing microbes have been and identified and measures to control them developed. Over the years, good microorganisms have been effectively used in the industry. They have been channeled to different products which are now vital and commonplace.
In present times, microbiology has advanced the knowledge of different living things. All microbes are now easy to work with. As a result, the study of the complex process of life has become less complex and more engaging. Besides, microbes have become a powerful tool in the study of genetics and metabolism at the molecular level.