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Microbiologists study organisms called microbes. Microbes can take the form of bacteria, viruses, protists and fungi. One of the microbiologists main aims is to find out how microbes affect the world around them.

Microbes are incredibly diverse, therefore, microbiologists usually have their own specific area of study. For example, a microbiologist who only studies bacteria is called bacteriologist. A virologist is a microbiologist who only studies viruses. A food microbiologist works in the food industries and studies pathogenic micro organisms that cause food borne illness and spoilage.

A clinical microbiologist undertakes laboratory analysis and monitoring of microbial cultures/samples using specialist computer software and clinical trials. Most clinical microbiologists work within the pathology departments and diagnostic laboratories of medical schools and hospitals, and for the Health Protection Agency.

There are many industries a microbiologist may be involved in including the cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, water and agriculture and food industries.

Most microbiologists work within a team, whether that is in hospitals or working for a private company, usually in a laboratory.

Starting salaries are around £20,000 and consultants can earn over £70,000.

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