Department of Food Science and Technology, University of the Sargodha, Punjab, Pakistan
Received: 08-Apr-2022, Manuscript No. JMB-22-60102; Editor assigned: 10- Apr-2022, Pre QC No. JMB-22-60102 (PQ); Reviewed: 22- Apr-2022, QC No. JMB-22-60102; Revised: 25- Apr-2022, Manuscript No. JMB-22-60102 (A); Published: 29- Apr-2022, DOI:10.4172/2320-3528.11.3.003.
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Microbial ecology is the study of the diversity, distribution, and abundance of microorganisms, as well as their unique interactions and effects on ecosystems. Microorganisms represent the great majority of the genetic and metabolic variety on the planet and drive most of the key ecological processes that recycle matter and energy, despite the fact that microbial ecology is not generally considered of as a central discipline within ecology.
Microorganisms have evolved to fill nearly every ecological niche and energy-generating process imaginable. Microorganisms participate in a variety of ecological interactions with one other and larger forms of life as a result of this. Microbial species, evolutionary relationships, and environmental variables that affect abundance, distribution, and specialized activity are often identified using laboratory culture and culture-independent molecular techniques.
Although these approaches are frequently complementary, they each take a different approach to microbial ecology. In situ studies of microbial interactions and dynamics in complex natural communities are possible thanks to culture-independent techniques.
Laboratory cultures have determined the enormous metabolic diversity of microbes and are essential for testing fundamental ecological theories relating to evolutionary adaptability, competition, and demographic tradeoffs due to their simplicity and ease of modification. Within the study of microbiology, microbial ecology is a relatively new field. Its modern history is limited to the last 60 years, and the area is distinguished by its focus on studying microorganisms' interactions with their surroundings rather than their activity in controlled lab environments.
Microbiologists examine a wide range of ecosystems, from aquatic to terrestrial to plant or animal-associated, due to the pervasive nature of bacteria. It's been difficult to find unifying concepts in the field as a result of this. One way is to acknowledge that, while bacteria in nature have macro scale effects, they interact with their physical, chemical, and biological environment on a micrometer scale. Several diverse microbial ecosystems can be characterized at this size, depending on particle association, environmental gradients, and the constant supply of water. Microbial ecology principles take into account not only their population ecology and physiological ecology, but also their vast adaptability and quantitative relevance in the biosphere as biogeochemical catalysts with the ability to respond quickly to physiological and evolutionary changes.
Food microbial ecology is influenced not only by its composition, packaging systems, and raw material origin, but also by the unit processes used in food processing, their intensity, and combinations. Unit operations alter material qualities in order to generate homogeneous, high-quality food items with a longer shelf life and improved market appeal. Microorganisms such as bacteria, yeasts, moulds, viruses, and parasites may be susceptible to unit operations used in food processing in different ways. Viruses and parasites cannot develop but can live in foods, whereas bacteria, moulds, and yeasts can survive, grow, and be inactivated, inhibited, or eradicated. Several technologies, such as on-farm or on-factory unit operations (heating, refrigeration/freezing, dehydration, atmospheric modification, irradiation, and physical, chemical, and microbial-based operations), can be used to attain such goals.
Traditional culturing microbiological methods, which are time-consuming and labor-intensive, can be used to investigate the microbial ecology of foods. To gain insights into the microbial ecology of foods, however, a number of innovative approaches with more sensitive, precise, and repeatable results can be used. Despite the efforts of industry and government regulatory organizations to ensure high-quality food, foodborne infections continue to be a problem.