an extensive history

 

Humans have been taking advantage of microbes for a very long time and, in turn, these microscopic organisms have altered the course of human history many times over. 

Ancient History

~28,700 years ago

Earliest evidence of food fermentation (roots and tubers fermented with microorganisms), in the Solomon Islands

    

~ 9,000 years ago

Evidence of milk fermentation in Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt, as well as ancient Veda scriptures and Ayurvedic texts 
(Indian subcontinent) 
 

~ 13,000 years ago

Earliest evidence of beer fermentation in Natufian culture
(ancient Israel)

    

~ 5000 years ago

Beer production in ancient China
 

    

~ 2500 years ago

Ancient antibiotics: fungus that grows on soybean curd is used to cure boils

~ 9000 years ago

Evidence of fermented rice, honey and fruit beverages in ancient China


 

    

~ 2500 years ago

Evidence of soybean fermentation to produce tofu in ancient China

    

~2000 years ago

Ancient Nubians produce beer with high levels of tetracycline

 

>  2000 years ago

Mouldy bread used as topical treatment for infected wounds (China, Greece, Serbia, Egypt)  

Early Microbiology


Early 1600s

Microscope invented


 

1676

Anton Van Leeuwenhoek uses microscope to discover tiny ‘animalcules’

1881

Robert Koch develops technique to isolate pure bacterial culture

1861

Louis Pasteur presents his ‘germ theory’ that microorganisms can cause disease

 

20th century

1940

Howard Florey and Ernst Chain discover penicillin can treat bacterial infections in humans

 

1942

Penicillin is mass produced for the first time
 

1966

The genetic code is deciphered: revealing how the order of nucleic acids in DNA and RNA determines how proteins are built

    

1973

First animal gene is cloned in bacteria

    

1970s – 80s

Development of DNA sequencing and DNA synthesis, as well as genetic engineering techniques

1928

Discovery of penicillin (Alexander Fleming)

    

1953

Structure of DNA discovered

 

1978

Human insulin is produced in E. coli bacteria

 

1993

Frances Arnold develops ‘directed evolution’ to improve the function of enzymes and develop new catalysts

 
 

1997

E. coli bacteria genome sequenced
 

1996

Bakers’ yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) genome sequence is completed

21st Century

2003

Human genome sequence completed 
(13 years in total)


 

2012

CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing tool developed

  

2018

Frances Arnold shares Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her directed evolution methods, which are now used for biomanufacturing many products from pharmaceuticals to biofuels

2015

Human genome can now be sequenced in approximately one day

2019

Expected completion of synthetic yeast genome, Yeast 2.0

 

 

 

 

 

Small Things Big Changes Volume 1: Advanced Biomanufacturing, AIBN. This article is an extract from AIBN's Small Things Big Changes Volume 1

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