Advanced Instruments, concentrates on the sub-field of Bacteriology. Bacteria can be harmful to humans, but they can also help us in many ways. Bacteria are responsible for many beneficial processes such as industrial fermentation (e.g. the production of alcohol and dairy products) and antibiotic production. Scientists have exploited their knowledge of microbes to produce biotechnologically important enzymes to help in the fight against cancer and other illnesses.
The Biotechnology World
Biotechnology is the discipline dealing with the use of living organisms or their products in large-scale industrial processes. Microbes for industrial use are a unique subset of all the microorganisms on earth. Microbes isolated from nature eat, grow, reproduce and eliminate waste just like any other living creature--industrial microorganisms are organisms that have been selected carefully so that they manufacture one or more specific products. These “bugs” have become factory workers1.
More specifically, Microbial Biotechnology is the field of biotechnology that uses microorganisms. Microbial Biotechnology started years ago with bacteria that aid the alcohol fermentation process--like those for beer and wine. Further processes were developed for the production of antibiotics, food additives, enzymes and industrial chemicals2.
The Clinical World
Unfortunately bacteria can be harmful to humans. Organisms such as E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella all can cause illness or death. Diseases and conditions studied with the use of Spiral Biotech instrumentation include food spoilage agents, food poisoning, botulism, staph infections, Anthrax, and Tuberculosis. Most of the organisms studied by Advanced Instruments, such as the bacteria listed here, are food-borne. Federal organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture, utilize Spiral Biotech technology to ensure the safety of our food supply.
There are many varieties of organisms that can cause disease. Anaerobic bacteria are organisms that live in the absence of oxygen or at low-levels of oxygen (micro-aerophilic bacteria). These organisms are common causes of infection. There are several habitats in the body (intestine, oral cavity) that are anaerobic. However, other parts of the body can become anaerobic as a result of injury or trauma. Many dangerous bacteria are anaerobic or micro-aerophilic and can cause great harm to humans3.
1 Brock, Thomas D and Madigan, Michael T, Biology of Microorganisms (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc), p. 358.
2 Brock, Thomas D and Madigan, Michael T, Biology of Microorganisms (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc), p. 358.
3 Brock, Thomas D and Madigan, Michael T, Biology of Microorganisms (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc), p. 478.