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Medicinal Use of Microorganisms – CBSE Class 8

Last Updated : 07 Jul, 2023
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Medicinal Uses of Microorganisms include the production of antibiotics and vaccines, vitamins and minerals supplements, etc. Microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and algae play a vital role in medicines for humans, plants, and animals. Some microbes are harmful whereas some microbes are useful to plants and animals. Microorganisms are useful in almost all day-to-day activities. They are used in the preparation of bread, cake, and curd, in the digestion of food, as medicines, as biocontrol agents, and as nitrogen-fixing bacteria in plants, etc.

What are Microorganisms?

Microorganisms are very small living organisms that are not visible to the naked eye. They ​​ can be ​seen only with the help of microscopes. Microorganisms are present everywhere in all types of environment

Microorganisms can be either prokaryotic (without a nucleus) or eukaryotic (with a nucleus). Some microbes are useful for plants and animals (i.e., they act as friends) whereas some microbes are harmful and cause diseases in both plants and animals (i.e., they act as foes).

Medicinal Uses of Microorganisms

Microorganisms are useful in many ways. For example, lactobacillus helps in converting milk to curd. Yeast helps in the baking of bread and cakes. Microbes also have many medicinal uses. There is extensive research going on in this field. The diseases caused by one Microorganism can be cured by some other Microorganism. Many antibiotics and antifungal medicines are prepared using microbes. Microorganisms are used in medicines for humans, plants, and animals


Some of the medicinal uses of microorganisms for humans are as follows:

  1. ​Antibiotics such as streptomycin and erythromycin are commonly used and are made from microorganisms.
  2. Trichoderma polysporum is used to prepare Cyclosporin A, which acts as an immunosuppressive agent.
  3. Penicillium notatum​ fungus is used to produce penicillin which is used in the treatment of various infections.
  4. Claviceps purpurea is an ergot fungus​ that produces ergot drug which can be used to stimulate uterus contractions during childbirth. Ergot drug is also used to treat severe migraine headaches.
  5. Microorganisms are useful in the production of vaccines where weak or dead viruses are injected to alert the immune system to fight back when such virus enters the body.
  6. Non-pathogenic strains of ​Coltridia bacteria produce therapeutic proteins which are used in cancer therapy ​for tumors.
  7. Aithromycin with fluoroquinolones is used to treat diarrhea.
  8. Microbes such as Mycobacterium, Rhodococcus, and Gordonia are used in the transportation of steroids within the body.
  9. Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast is ​rich in vitamins and proteins, so it’s used as a nutritional supplement.
  10. Monascus purpeureus fungus is used to produce​ statins which lower blood cholesterol.


Some of the medicinal uses of microorganisms for animals​ are as follows:

  1. Some antibiotics made from microorganisms are given to livestock and poultry to prevent the spreading of infections.
  2. Penicillin G produced by the fermentation of Penicillium chrysogenum is used to treat bacterial ​pneumonia, and rhinitis in cattle and swine.


Some of the medicinal uses of microorganisms for plants​ are as follows:

  1. Microorganisms in the soil provide an immunity boost to plants which induce systemic resistance against pathogens.
  2. Microorganisms can act as biocontrol agents which helps in controlling insects and pests that harm the plants. For example, Bacillus thuringiensis kills the butterfly caterpillar that eats plant leaves.
  3. Trichoderma stimulates the growth of plants hence it is used as a biofertilizer.
  4. Baculoviruses are used to control pests in organic farming as they aren’t harmful to humans

FAQs on Medicinal Use of Microorganisms

Q1: What are antibiotics? Give examples.


Antibiotics are medicines that either kill or stop the growth of disease-causing microorganisms. Examples: streptomycin, erythromycin, azithromycin, penicillin, ciprofloxacin

Q2: Name some Microorganisms of medicinal use to plants.


Bacillus thuringiensis, Trichoderma, Baculoaculoviruses

Q3: What are the medicinal uses of microorganisms for Humans?


Some common medicinal Uses of Microorganisms are as follows:

  1. Microorganisms are used in the production of antibiotics such as Streptomycin and Erythromycin.
  2. Penicillin is used to treat various infections.
  3. Microorganisms are used in the production of vaccines.
  4. Some microbes are rich in vitamins and proteins and hence used as nutritional supplements.

Q4: Which Microorganisms are used in the production of Vitamin B12?


Bacillus megaterium, Propionibacterium freudenreichii, Pseudomonas denitrificans, and Streptomyces olivaceus are commonly used in the production of Vitamin B12.

Q5: Name any disease caused by one Microorganism and treated using another Microorganism.


Diarrhoea is caused by Rotavirus and Escherichia coli and it can be treated using Arithromycin obtained from bacteria along with fluoroquinolones.

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