Nano microbiology gives researchers the power to study cell membranes and live cells in unprecedented detail. Atomic force microscopy works by scanning a sample's surface with a very sharp tip. Nanotechnology has been effectively combined with microbiology in areas such as medicine, pharmaceutical, industrial, agricultural and environmental applications to overcome existing microbiological limitations. Further innovations are inevitable as this interdisciplinary science develops.
Microbiology relates to nanoscience at a number of levels. Many bacterial entities are nano-machines in nature, including molecular motors like flagella and pili. Bacteria also form biofilms by the process of self-assembly (for example the formation of Curli-film by E. coli). The formation of aerial hyphae by bacteria and fungi is also directed by the controlled and ordered assembly of building blocks. Also, the formation of virus capsids is a classical process of molecular recognition and self-assembly at the nano-scale.