What Is Microbial Engineering?

Microbial engineering includes fields such as biotechnology, chemical engineering and alternative fuel development to study the role of microbes in plants, bacteria and machines. Read on to learn more about this discipline. Schools offering Engineering & Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Microbial Engineering

Microbial engineering combines microbiology, molecular biology, immunology and chemical engineering. A microbial engineer works in the biological, chemical and engineering aspects of biotechnology, manipulating microbes and developing new uses for bacteria and yeast. A microbial engineer can work in the production of biofuels and other products that are made from renewable resources. The fields of biotechnology, chemical engineering, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and medical device development also employ microbial engineers.

Important Facts About Microbial Engineering

Median Salary (2018) $88,550 (Biomedical engineers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 7% (Biomedical engineers)
Required Education Bachelor's degree
Similar Occupations Food scientists and technologists, validation engineers, materials engineers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Biotechnology is a technology that is based on biology and is applicable to the fields of agriculture, food science and medicine. A microbial engineer can work in the research and manufacture of biofuels, for example.

Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineering uses applied chemistry to promote the development of the design and construction of machines and plants that will perform chemical reactions. The object is to solve problems or make a useful product. A microbial engineer may also work with chemical engineers to develop alternative energy sources using bacteria in technologies like microbial fuel cells.


In the pharmaceutical industry, a microbial engineer works to develop serums and drugs to fight diseases such as malaria. Recombinant pharmaceuticals currently use yeasts and bacteria strains to produce insulin and human growth hormone. Ongoing microbial engineering research seeks to develop other drugs with microbes.


In the diagnostics branch of microbial engineering, a microbial engineer works with species-level identification of bacteria that could be harmful to humans or the environment. A microbial engineer might work within a manufacturing environment to identify bacteria or other agents that are harmful to workers.

Medical Device Industry

Within the medical device industry, a microbial engineer works toward ensuring that medical devices are not contaminated. They also work on containment strategies for airborne bacteria and viruses.

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