Microbiologists study microscopic forms of life such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa, algae and fungi to increase scientific knowledge and develop medical, veterinary, industrial, environmental and other practical applications.

Duties & Tasks

Microbiologists may perform the following tasks:

  • develop products, such as antibiotics, detergents or cosmetics, that either combat diseases caused by pathogenic microorganisms or harness the positive capabilities of microorganisms
  • test samples from patients, isolating and identifying the microbes that cause illness, examining their susceptibility to antibiotics and giving advice about appropriate treatment
  • prevent and control the spread of harmful microbes in hospitals, the food industry and the general population
  • advise the government about public health policies
  • examine natural products for their ability to inhibit the growth of dangerous microbes and apply their findings to the medical and food industries
  • investigate the potential of microbes to improve human and animal health through nutrition
  • develop and improve fermented drinks and foods, such as beer, wine, cheese and yoghurt
  • research the microbiology of plants and use microbes to control pests, weeds and animal diseases
  • study DNA and the use of bacteria to introduce specially engineered genes into an organism in order to fight disease or to change a specific feature of the organism
  • use their knowledge of microbiology to minimise the environmental impact of production and clean up existing pollution
  • investigate the ways in which microorganisms can be used to improve and enhance products that impact on quality of life, such as food and beverages.

Personal Requirements

  • enjoy and have aptitude for science and research
  • able to think logically and analytically
  • able to carry out detailed and accurate work
  • good communication skills
  • able to think creatively and solve problems
  • able to work as part of a team.

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