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                           INDUSTRIAL MICROBIOLOGY











     Use of microbes to obtain a product or service of economic value constitutes industrial microbiology. “Any process mediated by or involving microbes in witch a product of economic value obtained is called fermentation (Casida, jr.1968). That term industrial microbiology and fermentation are virtually synonymous in their scope, objective and activities. The microbial product may be microbial cells (living or dead), microbial biomass usually processed, and components of microbial cells, intracellular or extracellular enzymes or chemicals produced by the microbes utilizing the medium constituents or the provided substrate. The services garneted by microbes range from the degradation of organic was, detoxification of industrial waste and toxic compounds, to the degradation of petroleum to manage oil spills, etc. industrial microbiology also encompasses activities like production of biocontrol agents, inoculants used as biofertilizers, etc. obviously the scope and activities of industrial microbiology are too extensive to be converted in any detail in a book like this therefore, the coverage in this topic or subject remains generalized and rather elementary. The activities in industrial microbiology begin with the isolation of microbes from nature, their screening for product formation, improvement f product yield , maintenance of cultures, nature , their screening for product formation , improvement of product yields, maintenance of cultures, mass culture using bioreactors, and usually end with the recovery of products and their purification.








     Microbes have been employed for product generation, e.g. Wine, bread, etc., since thousands of years, but these activities were purely art. The science of industrial microbiology is only about 150 years old. The first observations of microbes by Leeuwenhoek were published by the Royal Society. London in 1677, and later in 1684. The experiments of Spallanzani (in 1799) and those of Schwan (in 1837) not only disproved the idea of spontaneous generation of microbes, but also provided a means of sterilization of liquids by heat and air by heat, respectively. Schwan’s findings also suggested that alcoholic fermentation was due to a fungus or mold, e.g., yeast, and inoculation resulted in quicker fermentation. But microbiology is widely considered to have begun in 1857 when Pasteur reported his study on lactic acid fermentation, including the microscopic feature of the microbes and a suitable medium for the process. In 1861, Pasteur reported the first synthetic medium for microbes, and used it to study alcohol fermentation. In 1861, pastur showed that growth and physiology of yeast (and hence the accumulation of the fermentation product, in this case , alcohol) differs depending on the presence or absence of oxygen. This phenomenon is known as Pasteur Effect and is applicable to other microbes as well.










    Industrial microbiology has a wide variety of applications; witch can be grouped in to many categories mainly on the basis of the type of product obtained and the chief kind of activity involved: (1) metabolic production, (2) biotransformation, (3) anaerobic digestion (for methane production), (4) waste treatment (both organic and industrial), (5) recovery of metals, (6) microbial biomass production (for feed, food and inoculation). (7) Production of biocontrol agent, and (8) fermentation of food product’s.

















     Genetically engineered microbes or GEMs are microorganisms into witch a gene or genes have been introduced using recombinant DNA technology. GEMs can be tailored to fulfill specific needs and perform functions, witch their natural counterparts can never perform. GEMs (1) are capable of producing pharmaceutically useful proteins, and modified or new metabolites, (2) can be used crop protection by control of insects (e.g. Clavibacter containing B. thuringiensis cry gene), fungal disease (e.g., Pseudomonas expressing chitinase gene from serratia), frost damage (ice mutants of Pseudomonas fluoresces and Pseudomonas syrings: ice gene product acts as the nucleus for ice crystal formation at low temperature), etc. (3) degrade non biological wastes and detoxify wastes, (4) show enhances nitrogen fixation (e.g. Amplification of nif genes in R. melilotii), etc. these are only a small sample of the realized/ potential  applications of GEMs the limit on their varied utilization is imposed by our understanding of the various biological process and the flights of our imagination.




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