Difference Between Biology and Microbiology

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What is Biology?

The word “Biology” is made up of two Greek words- “bios” means life and “logos” means study. Hence, biology is the branch of science which deals with the study of living beings and their vital life processes. Lamarck and Teviranus first coined the term “biology” in the year 1801. Aristotle is known as the Father of Biology. Biology is generally divided into two main branches, i.e., Botany and Zoology. Botany deals with the study of different aspects of plants and Zoology deals with the study of various aspects of animals. 

A biologist is a person or a professional who possesses specialized knowledge in the field of Biology.

What is Microbiology?

Microbiology is the branch of biology which deals with the study of microorganisms, like viruses, bacteria, algae, fungi, archaea, and protozoa. These microorganisms are collectively known as microbes. Though the existence of microorganisms was hypothesized for many centuries, Antoni Van Leuwenhoek (1632-1723) was the first person to observe bacteria and other organisms in water under a home-made single-lens microscope, in the year 1676. There are mainly two branches of Microbiology. They are applied microbiology or biotechnology and pure microbiology. Pure microbiology deals with the profound theoretical study of the organisms as the subject itself. In comparison, applied microbiology or biotechnology deals with the application of microorganisms in specific processes such as brewing or fermentation.

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Difference Between Microbiology and Biology

Students often ponder upon one particular question: ‘is biology and microbiology the same?’

They are not entirely different, but they are not the same too. It would be safe to say that microbiology is a part of biology which involves the intensive study of microorganisms, their living mechanisms, their study of the structure, and so on. Therefore, it brings us to one question, i.e., ‘What is the difference between microbiology and biology?’.

The difference between biology and microbiology are tabulated below.



1. Biology is the branch of science which deals with the study of life and living organisms and their interaction with non-living organisms.

1. Microbiology is the branch of biology which deals with the study of microorganisms.

2. Biologists may or may not use a microscope during biological research as it can be done mostly with naked eyes. 

2. Use of the microscope is necessary during microbiological research.

3. The study of biology is more diverse and is a central topic.

3. The study of microbiology is not so diverse since it deals with mainly microorganisms only.

4. Biology involves the study of microscopic and macroscopic organisms.

4. Microbiology involves the study of only microscopic organisms.

Therefore, these are some of the significant differences between biology and microbiology.

What is Molecular Biology?

Molecular biology is the study of living organisms at a molecular level, and it aims to understand living organisms by examining the components that they are constituted of. It specifically deals with the study of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) and the proteins and their interactions with carbohydrates, lipids, and other biomolecules. It is a specialized branch of biochemistry. Electrophoresis, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Restriction digest, Litigation, Blotting, Cloning are some of the commonly used molecular biology techniques.

Major Difference Between Molecular Biology and Microbiology 

The difference between molecular biology and microbiology are as follows.

Molecular Biology


1. Molecular Biology aims to understand living organisms by examining the structure and functions of molecular components that construct them.

1. Microbiology is the branch of biology which deals with the study of microorganisms.

2. It mainly involves the study of the biological interactions between biomolecules like nucleic acids and proteins in various cell systems.

2. It mainly involves the study of unicellular, multicellular, and acellular microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, protozoa, algae, archaea, and fungi.

These two are the major difference between molecular biology and microbiology.

Did you know?

Anton Van Leeuwenhoek is known as the founding father of microbiology. He was a cloth trader from Delft, the Dutch Republic who used magnifying glasses to find irregularities in his clothes. Later driven by self-interest, he made a home-made microscope in 1674 and examined a drop of water from the murky Berkelse lake and observed “animalcules” in it, and became the first person to discover microbes. The “animalcules”, as discovered later, were green algae and rotifers. Soon, he found bacteria and red blood cells in 1676. Also, the first recorded microscopic observation was done by Robert Hooke in 1666, when he observed the fruiting body of moulds.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are the branches of Microbiology?

Ans- Microbiology is divided into two main branches, namely Pure microbiology and applied microbiology. Pure microbiology is further divided into bacteriology (the study of bacteria), mycology (the study of fungi), protozoology (the study of protozoa), phycology (the study of algae), parasitology (the study of parasites), virology (the study of viruses). Applied microbiology or biotechnology is further divided into medical microbiology (the study of pathogenic microbes and the role of microbes in human illnesses), pharmaceutical microbiology (the study of microorganisms that are used to produce antibiotics, enzymes, vitamins, and other pharmaceutical products), industrial microbiology (the exploitation of microbes for using them in industrial processes like industrial fermentation and wastewater treatment) and, food microbiology (the study of microorganisms that causes food spoilage and foodborne diseases). 

2. What are the main branches of Biology?

Ans- Biology is a vast subject which encompasses several other subjects such as taxonomy (the science of identification, nomenclature, and classification of organisms), morphology (the study which deals with external form, size, shape, colour, the structure of the various organs of living organisms), anatomy (the study of internal structure that can be observed with naked eyes after dissection), histology (the study of tissue organization and their structure with the help of microscope), cytology (the study of form and structure of cells), genetics (the study of variation and transmission of hereditary characteristics from parent to their offsprings), ecology (the study of inter-relationship between a living being and their environment) and so on.