Microbiology – The scientific study of microorganisms (eg Bacteria, Viruses and Fungi).

Originally the study of microbiology was directed towards the effects of microorganisms (eg how they cause disease and decay). However during the 20th century, the emphasis shifted to their physiology, biochemistry and genetics. Microbes are now recognized as important vehicles for the study of biochemical and genetic processes common to all living organisms, and their rapid growth enables their laboratory culture in large numbers for studies in genetics.