Class 12 Biology Microbes In Human Welfare Microbes in industrial products

Microbes in industrial products

Production on an industrial scale, requires growing microbes in very large vessels called fermenters

Beverages, antibiotics, enzymes are some of the industrial products produced by microbes.

Fermented beverages

  • Microbes are used for the production of beverages like wine, beer, whiskey, brandy or rum.
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is used for the production of fermented beverages.
  • Malted cereals and fruit juices are fermented by S.cerevisiae to produce ethanol.
  • Wine and beer are produced without distillation.
  • Whisky, brandy and rum are produced by distillation of the fermented broth.

Fig. Saccharomyces cerevisiae  


  • Antibiotics are the chemical substances which are produced by some microbes and can kill or stop the growth the growth of other microbes.
  • Alexander Flemming discovered penicillin obtained from Penicillium notatum which was the first antibiotic to be discovered.
  • Alexander Fleming while working on Staphylococci bacteria observed a mould growing in one of his unwashed culture plates around which Staphylococci could not grow and he found out that it was due to a chemical produced by Penicillium notatum.
  • Antibiotics are used against the deadly diseases like plague, whooping cough, leprosy, malaria etc.

Fig. Penicillium notatum  

Chemicals, enzymes and other bioactive molecules

  • Microbes are used for the production of organic acids, alcohols and enzymes.


  1. Aspergillus niger (a fungus) is the producer of citric acid.


Fig. Aspergillus niger  

  1. Acetobacter aceti (a bacterium)produces acetic acid.

Fig. Acetobacter aceti 

  • Clostridium butylicum (a bacterium) is the producer of butyric acid and Lactobacillus (a bacterium).

Fig. Clostridium butylicum  

  1. Yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) is used for commercial production of ethanol.
  2. Lactobacillus (a bacterium) is the producer of lactic acid.

Enzymes produced by the microbes are-

  1. Lipases- used in detergent formulations.
  2. Pectinases and proteases- used in making bottled fruit juices clearer.
  • Streptokinase produced by the bacterium Streptococcus is used as a ‘clot buster’ for removing clots from the blood vessels of patients who have undergone myocardial infraction leading to heart attack.

Bioactive molecules produced by microbes are-

  1. Cyclosporin A- used as an immunosuppressive agent in organ-transplant patients, is produced by the fungus Trichoderma polysporum.
  2. Statins- produced by the yeast Monascus purpureus is used as blood-cholesterol lowering agents which acts by competitively inhibiting the enzyme responsible for synthesis of cholesterol.

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