Environmental and Soil Microbiology

Environmental microbiology is about the composition and physiology of microbial communities in the environment. The environment in this case includes soil, water, air, sediments, animals and plants. It also includes artificial environments like Bioreactors. Molecular biology has revolutionized the study of microorganisms in the environment and improved our understanding of the composition, phylogeny, and physiology of microbial communities. The present molecular technologies include DNA-based technologies and new methods for RNA and protein studies from environment samples. Currently there is a major emphasis on the application of "omics" approaches to determine the identities and functions of microbes inhabiting different environments. Microbial life is amazingly diverse and microorganisms literally cover the planet. Microorganisms can survive in some of the most extreme environments on the planet and some can survive high temperatures, often above 100°C, as found in geysers, black smokers, and oil wells. Some are found in very cold habitats and others in highly salt|saline, acidic, or alkaline water. Microbes play a crucial role in oil biodegradation, degradation of aromatic compounds and analysis of waste biotreatment.