AAT Bioquest

What are the differences between microbes and microorganisms?

Posted September 18, 2023



Microbes refer to microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi as well as other microscopic entities such as prions and virioids that are technically not considered living organisms. Microbes are mainly unicellular organisms and mainly prokaryotes. Microbes either cause diseases or undergo fermentation.


Microorganisms refer to living organisms that are too small to be seen with the naked eye. They are essential to life on Earth and found in all types of environments including air, water, and soil, as well as inside other organisms. Microorganisms may be classified as bacteria, algae, viruses, protozoa, and fungi. Microorganisms can either be unicellular or multicellular organisms. They also can be prokaryotes or eukaryotes.

Additional resources

Toward a Symbiotic Perspective on Public Health: Recognizing the Ambivalence of Microbes in the Anthropocene

MycoLight™ Dyes and Kits

MycoLight™ Rapid Fluorescence Bacterial Gram Stain Kit