Microbial Biotechnology

For thousands of years, microorganisms have been used to supply products such as bread, beer and wine. A second phase of traditional microbial biotechnology began during World War I and resulted in the development of the acetone-butanol and glycerol fermentations, followed by processes yielding, for example, citric acid, vitamins and antibiotics. In the early 1970s, traditional industrial microbiology was merged with molecular biology to yield more than 40 biopharmaceutical products, such as erythropoietin, human growth hormone and interferons. Today, microbiology is a major participant in global industry, especially in the pharmaceutical, food and chemical industries.