Microbiology: The Good Guys!

Good microbes

You may not have met one in person, but microbes are everywhere! They’re on us, in us and around us.

There are bad microbes that make us ill, but there are also others that we need to survive!

Here are a couple of ways they help us out…

Microbes Make Food

They have been used since ancient times to make bread, cheese and win. Food manufacturers still use micro-organisms today to make a wide range of food products by a process known as fermentation.

Fermentation not only gives food a good taste, texture and smalle, but it causes changes that reduce the growth of unwanted microbes.

Today fermentations are used to make a wide range of food and drink, including chocolate, yoghurt, salami, soy sauce and ginger beer.



Antibiotics are vital in helping stop and treat bacterial infections, saving loads of people’s lives across the years. And did you know that a lot of them are made by microbes!

The first antibiotic to be discovered and one of the most famous too is Penicillin, discovered in 1928 by Alexander Fleming.

Antibiotics are produced in nature by some soil bacteria, such as Streptomyces, and fungi, such as Penicillium. These antibiotic-producing microbes have a competitive edge over other microbes living nearby in the surrounding soil.

This is because the antibiotics seep into the soil and inhibit the growth of other bacteria, reducing competition for resources such as food.

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