Role of Bacteria in Industry

Bacteria in Industry

Industrial microbiology is a sub-discipline of biotechnology that uses microbial sciences to mass-produce industrial products, commonly employing microbial cell factories. To maximise maximum product yields, a microorganism can be manipulated in a variety of ways. It is possible to introduce mutations into an organism by exposing it to mutagens. Gene amplification, which is done with the use of plasmids and vectors, is another technique to boost production. Plasmids and/or vectors are used to include multiple copies of a given gene, allowing for the production of more enzymes and, as a result, a higher product yield.

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The manipulation of organisms to produce a specific product has a variety of real-world uses, including the manufacture of antibiotics, vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, solvents, alcohol, and other everyday items. Industrial uses of microbes are an important function in the business, and they can be exploited in a variety of ways. Microbes can be used to make antibiotics, which can then be used to treat antibiotics. Microbes can also be used in the food processing business. Microbes are extremely useful in the production of some of the mass-produced goods that people consume.

This article will study marine microbes and their application, the industrial importance of bacteria and the list of industrially important microbes in detail.

Uses of Bacteria in Industry

Role of Bacteria in Industry

In Medicines

The manufacture of novel pharmaceuticals manufactured in a specific organism for medical purposes is a medical application of industrial microbiology. Antibiotics are required for the treatment of a wide range of bacterial illnesses. Fermentation is used to manufacture several naturally occurring antibiotics and precursors. The microorganisms grow in a liquid medium with controlled population size in order to produce the most amount of product.

Nutrients, pH, temperature, and oxygen are all managed in this environment in order to increase the number of cells and prevent them from dying before the antibiotic of interest is produced. To earn money, the antibiotic must be removed once it has been manufactured.

Vitamins are created in large numbers as well, either by fermentation or biotransformation. Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) is created in both ways, for example. The most common method for producing riboflavin is biotransformation, and the carbon supply for this process is glucose. A few microbe strains have been modified to boost the amount of riboflavin generated. Ashbya gossypii is the most common organism employed in this process. Another popular approach to make riboflavin is through fermentation.

Steroid medicaments can be made through microbial biotransformation. Steroids can be taken orally or by injection. Steroids are important in the treatment of arthritis. Cortisone is an anti-inflammatory medication used to treat arthritis and a variety of skin conditions. Another steroid is testosterone, which is made from dehydroepiandrosterone and generated by the Corynebacterium genus.

In Beverages 

Fermentation is a chemical reaction that converts sugar to gas, alcohol, or acids. Fermentation takes place anaerobically, which means that microbes may function without the presence of oxygen. To mass create multiple items, yeasts and bacteria are widely used. Alcohol is a substance created by yeasts and bacteria. Ethanol is a type of alcohol that may be drunk and is used to power automobiles as a fuel source. Alcohol is made from sugars found in nature, such as glucose. As a byproduct of this reaction, carbon dioxide is created, which can be utilised to create bread and carbonated beverages.

The manufacture of yoghurt begins with the pasteurisation of milk, which reduces or eliminates unwanted bacteria. After pasteurisation, the milk is ready to be processed to remove the fat and liquid content, leaving primarily solid content. This can be accomplished by either drying the milk and allowing the liquid to evaporate or adding concentrated milk. The nutritional value of milk is increased by increasing the solid content since the nutrients are more concentrated. After this process, the milk is ready for fermentation, which involves inoculating the milk with bacteria in sanitary stainless steel containers and monitoring lactic acid production and temperature.

Food Processing

Sourdough bread is prepared by fermenting a bacteria-based leaven, which is commonly coupled with wild yeast enzymes. Lactobacillus, a milk-souring bacteria genus, is used to manufacture yoghurt and cheese. Bacteria are also employed in pickles and vinegar to produce organic acids.


In the manufacturing and service industries, biotechnology involves the use of microorganisms such as bacteria. Chemical manufacture, such as ethanol, acetone, organic acid, enzymes, and fragrances, is one of them. Bacteria are used to make a variety of nutritional supplements and medications. Escherichia coli, for example, is employed in the industrial production of riboflavin and vitamin K. E. coli is also used to make D-amino acids such as D-p-hydroxyphenylglycine, which is a crucial step in the production of the antibiotic amoxicillin.

Genetic Engineering

The altering of genes is known as genetic engineering. Recombinant DNA technology is another name for it. A multitude of strategies is used in genetic engineering to introduce fragments of DNA (genes) into a host, one of the first being the use of a virus vector. The foreign DNA becomes a permanent feature of the host, replicating and passing on to daughter cells alongside the rest of the host's DNA. Bacterial cells are changed and exploited to make commercially valuable goods. Human insulin (used to treat diabetes) and human growth hormone are two examples (somatotropin used to treat pituitary dwarfism).

Fibre Retting

In the retting process, bacteria like Clostridium butyricum are employed to separate the fibres of jute, hemp, and flax. The plants are submerged in water and injected with bacteria that hydrolyze pectic compounds in cell walls and separate the fibres when they expand. Alternatively, because dew supplies moisture, the plants can be spread out on the ground and rot organically. Ropes, bags, and other items are made from these separated fibres.

Pest Control

In biological pest management, bacteria can potentially be employed instead of insecticides. Bacillus thuringiensis (BT), a Gram-positive, soil-dwelling bacteria, is often used for this. Under the trade names Dipel and Thuricide, this bacterium is employed as a Lepidopteran-specific pesticide. These insecticides are considered environmentally friendly due to their specificity, as they have little effect on humans, wildlife, pollinators, or other beneficial insects.


Bacteria may eliminate pollutants from polluted water, soil, and subterranean material. For example, during the Mega Borg Oil Spill, 100 pounds of bacteria were sprayed over an acre of the oil slick to break down the hydrocarbons present and convert them to less harmful by-products.


Ruminococcus spp. bacteria found in the guts of cattle, horses, and other herbivores, aid in the digestion of cellulose by secreting the enzyme cellulase. Herbivores obtain the energy they require from grass and other plants in this manner.

Tanning of Leather

Bacteria aid in the purification of animal hides, making them easier, cleaner, and more suitable for use.

Microbes Used in Sewage Treatment

Microbes in Wastewater Treatment

  1. Although some molecules in the effluent are not completely broken down, aerobic respiration is the most efficient technique of breaking down organic materials. Biofilms can grow on porous solid materials in the tanks, increasing the quantity of bacteria and hence the effectiveness of the breakdown process. Activated sludge, a very solid substance, is created during this process. There's a combination of bacteria and undigested stuff in this.

  2. The liquid fraction of sewage is usually safe to discharge into rivers or the sea after aerobic digestion and a variety of other purification techniques. The remaining activated sludge is treated to a variety of biological processes in order to reduce the quantity of organic matter it contains even further. Anaerobic bacteria are frequently utilised in this step because, despite their slower growth, they can break down more complex compounds that are difficult to decompose using aerobic bacteria.

  3. Sewage processing reduces the concentration of potentially hazardous bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella in the original sewage since many of them die during the processing process since the conditions are not conducive to their survival. It's also critical to limit the amount of organic compounds in sewage plant effluents dumped into rivers. If this isn't done, naturally occurring bacteria in the river will utilise the organic molecules as a source of energy and multiply in large numbers.

  4. As a result, sewage must be treated to reduce the quantity of organic matter in it, lowering the Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD), which is defined as the amount of oxygen required by aerobic bacteria to degrade the organic compounds in a sample of water.

Bacterial Cellulose Production

Gram-negative bacteria such as Acetobacter, Azotobacter, Rhizobium, Salmonella, and Alcaligenes generate cellulose, as do Gram-positive bacteria such as Sarcina ventriculi. A. xylinum, A. hansenii, and A. pasteurianus are the most efficient cellulose producers. Because of its ability to create relatively high quantities of polymer from a wide range of carbon and nitrogen sources, A. xylinum is the model microorganism for basic and applied investigations on cellulose.

Given below is the list of microbes used in industry:

List of Bacteria Used in Industry



Application or Substrate


Thermophilic Bacillus species

Used in brewing to break down amyloses to maltoses


Clostridium thermocellum

Release of sugars from cellulose in waste from agriculture and papermaking

Proteases (thermolysin, subtilisin, aqualysin)

Thermus aquaticus, Bacillus species

Used in brewing, cheese processing, removal of hair from hides in the leather industry, and laundering

Glucose isomerase

Bacillus coagulans

Conversion of glucose to fructose as a sweetener in the food industry


Thermus aquaticus

Hydrolysis of lactose to glucose and galactose


Acetobacter species

From alcohol

Did You Know?

Bacteria are responsible for a wide spectrum of diseases in people and animals. Surface infections (e.g. impetigo), systemic infections (e.g. typhoid fever), acute infections (e.g. cholera), and chronic infections (e.g. tuberculosis) are among them (e.g. tuberculosis).

Bacterial plant diseases are financially important in agriculture all over the world. Aside from bacterial infections that have previously established themselves in numerous regions, diseases have been known to spread to new geographic areas or even evolve into new pathogen varieties. Furthermore, due to a lack of chemical control agents for bacteria, bacterial plant pathogens are difficult to control.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Why are Microbes Used in Sewage Treatment?

Ans. These organisms devour organic matter in wastewater, lowering the BOD (Biological oxygen demand), which is the amount of oxygen consumed by bacteria when one litre of organic matter is oxidised. After that, the effluent is pumped into the settling tank.

2. What is The Role of Bacteria in Industry?

Ans. Bacteria are exploited in the industry in a variety of ways, all of which take advantage of their natural metabolic capacities. Antibiotics, probiotics, medicines, vaccines, starter cultures, pesticides, enzymes, fuels, and solvents are among the products made with them.

3. Give Three Uses of Bacteria in Industry Namely The Food Industry.

Ans. Nature uses microorganisms to carry out fermentation processes, and yeasts, moulds, and bacteria have been employed to make bread, beer, wine, vinegar, yoghurt, and cheese, as well as fermented fish, meat, and vegetables, for thousands of years.