The Tools of Microbiology

The first microbiologists and the inventions and tools of microbiology.

Hand Holding Petri Dish Containing E Coli Bacteria for Research in Microbiology
Hand Holding Petri Dish Containing E Coli Bacteria for Research in Microbiology. Getty Images: Photographer Steve Taylor

By definition microbiology is a branch of biology that deals with microorganisms and their effects on other living organisms. Microorganisms are organisms that are too small to be seen without a microscope, for example: bacteria, viruses, certain fungi and yeasts.

Microbiology - Highlights of Inventions

  • 1874 - Anton Van Leeuwenhoek built a microscope considered by many as the first practical microscope. Using his microscope allowed Anton Van Leeuwenhoek to become the first person to see and describe bacteria, yeast plants, the teeming life in a drop of water, and the circulation of blood corpuscles in capillaries.
  • In 1796, the first small pox vaccination was invented by Edward Jenner.
  • In 1862, Louis Pasteur invented the germ theory of disease.
  • In 1867, Joseph Lister invented methods for antiseptic surgery.
  • In 1882, Paul Ehrlich invented the acid-fast stain.
  • In 1884, Christian Gram invented the gram stain, a staining method for the classification of bacteria.
  • In 1885, Louis Pasteur invented the first Rabies vaccination
  • In 1887, R.J. Petri invented the petri dish
  • In 1947, Jonas Salk invented the Polio vaccine.
  • On May 25, 1948, Andrew J Moyer was granted a patent for a method of the mass production of penicillin.
  • In 1954, Becton, Dickinson and Company created the first mass-produced disposable syringe and needle, produced in glass.
  • In 1967, Benjamin A. Rubin invented a pronged vaccination needle used for smallpox vaccinations.
  • In 1977, W. Gilbert & F. Sanger invented a method to sequence DNA
  • In 1983, Kary Mullis invented the polymerase chain reaction
  • In 1994, the FDA approved the first genetically engineered food FlavrSavr tomatoes
  • In 1995, the first microbial genomic sequence H. influenzae was published by Craig Venter, Hamilton Smith, Claire Fraser, and colleagues at TIGR.