A microorganism or microbe is an organism that is very small that it can only be seen by a microscope. It is not usually visible to the naked eye.
Microorganisms are frequently showcased with single-celled or unicellular organisms; although a few unicellular protists are visible to the naked eye, and a few multicellular species can only be seen with the aid of a microscope.
The study of microorganisms is referred to as microbiology and not unexpectedly the majority of the study is channeled to those organisms which cause human disease.
It is currently observed that microorganisms are not only responsible for causing ‘infectious diseases’ but they as well lead to many diseases like peptic ulcers, angina, and cervical cancer.
It is possible to discover in future that microorganisms may as well cause ‘non-infectious’ diseases. Nevertheless, microorganisms are as well crucial to human life.
Every square inch of our body surface is occupied by a lot of thousands of organisms which assist to safeguard the body from invasion by other possible harmful organisms.
Microorganisms are classified into bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Prions, which are considered to be infective protein particles instead of living organisms, are as well studied in microbiology. These groups are completely unconnected to one another; the only general factor among them is that they are all microscopic.
They are single-celled organisms, normally either rod-shaped or fairly spherical in shape. They are grouped based on their reaction to Gram’s stain: those that go blue with this stain are referred to as being Gram positive, those staining red are referred to as Gram negative.
Bacterias are responsible for diseases that range from typhoid, plague, cholera, meningococcal meningitis, tuberculosis, tetanus, gonorrhoea, and syphilis, to the more ordinary urinary tract infections, boils, and acne.
They are killed with the use of antiseptics and by boiling, although they may manufacture toxins which are not destroyed.
A lot of them were initially sensitive to antibiotics like penicillins, but excess us of these drugs has lead to a lot of multi-resistant bacteria.
These are smaller than bacteria and are not visible via a light microscope. It needs the use of electron microscope. They cannot reproduce apart from inside other living cells. They are liable to heat and to a few antiseptics.
Like bacteria, microscopic fungi are ubiquitous and include yeasts or moulds. Yeasts have been utilized for centuries by peoples all over the world to ferment sugar to alcohol; the drug penicillin was created in a mould.
The most common fungal infections are vaginal thrush, which frequently occurs after a course of antibiotics has killed the normal vaginal bacteria, and nail and skin infections like ‘ringworm’.
They are organisms which live in or on the body of another known as the ‘host’. The host may provide a source of nutrients or a safe haven in which to reproduce. They vary in size from single cells, such as the malaria parasite, to tapeworms which may be up to thirty feet in length and therefore not microscopic.
Man And Microbes
As in a lot of things in life, human beings require more than what is naturally available, not only to fight natural hazards but to as well fight things we have artificially made ourselves.
Through Biotechnology, scientists all over the world are conducting researches with viruses, bacteria, and fungi for lots and lots of reasons. These microbes are the simplest of all organisms. They can as well be the most deadly of all organisms.
That is why they are being greatly studied.
In addition to constituting a lot of harms to living organisms, these microbes can as well be beneficial in a lot of ways.
Microorganisms are very important to humans and the environment, because they take part in the Earth’s element cycles like the carbon cycle and nitrogen cycle, in addition to accomplishing other crucial functions in almost all ecosystems, like in recycling other organisms’ dead remains and waste products through decomposition.
Microorganisms as well have a crucial place in the majority of higher-order multicellular organisms in the form of symbionts. The majority of people blame the failure of Biosphere 2 on an inappropriate balance of microorganisms.
Uses of Micro-organism in different aspects of live have been illustrated below:
- Uses of Microbes To Make Medicine
Scientists are making use of microbes and the compounds they produce to manufacture new medicines to save human lives. The results of those researches are why we are being vaccinated for things like pox or the flu. Such vaccinations are effective because scientists have studied those viruses to examine the way they function. They consequently came up with a way to teach our immune system to do fight. If the individual eventually took ill he or she would be able to will be able to handle the infection. Labs are as well coming up with drugs that assist to get rid of these infections after you get the disease. Medical Laboratories are as well formulating fresh and stronger antibiotics on a day to day basis.
- Uses of Microbes In War
Even though nobody enjoys talking about it, humans have a history of making use of disease and compounds produced by microbes in warfare. Labs were constructed to produce chemical compounds that would terminate people’s life.
They as well isolate diseases (viruses) that could be set free to infect a whole population of people. The majority of the world has chosen not to grow diseases to be made use of in war. They have known how dangerous and uncontrollable these diseases are. Once they release these diseases, they may not be able to stop them.
- Uses of Microbes for cleaning The Environment
Scientists are as well working with microbes to improve the environment. In the real sense, the environment did not require help; we’re merely trying to reduce the negative impact we have on the environment.
Excellent examples are the bacteria that have been formulated to break down oil in the water. If a tanker leaked and oil starts to spill into the water, these bacteria could be sent out to break down the oil. The resulting compounds would not be harmful to the environment.
Scientists are as well working with bacteria and fungi to assist breakdown garbage.
- Oil microorganisms
The nitrogen cycle in soils relies on the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen. One way this can happen is in the root nodules of leguminous plants that is composed of symbiotic bacteria of the genera Rhizobium, Mesorhizobium, Sinorhizobium, Bradyrhizobium, and Azorhizobium.
- Symbiotic microorganisms
Symbiotic micro-organisms like fungi and algae form an association in lichen. A group of fungi form mycorrhizal symbioses with trees that augment the supply of nutrients to the tree.
- Human Digestion and Microorganism
A few types of bacteria that occupy animals’ stomachs assist in their digestion. For instance, cows possess a lot of different micro-organisms in their stomachs that are crucial in their digestion of grass and hay.
The gastrointestinal tract is made up of a hugely composite ecology of microorganisms. A characteristic individual bears above 500 different species of bacteria, which stands for dozens of various lifestyles and capabilities. The composition and supply of this menagerie varies with age, state of health and diet.
The number and type of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract differ significantly by region. In healthy individuals, the stomach and proximal small intestine contain some microorganisms, mainly as a result of the bacteriocidal function of gastric acid; those that are there are aerobes and facultative anaerobes.
An attractive evidence of the capability of gastric acid to repress bacterial populations is observable in patients with achlorhydria, a genetic disorder which inhibits secretion of gastric acid.
Such patients, which are otherwise healthy, may have about 10,000 to 100,000,000 microorganisms per ml of stomach contents.
Contrary to the stomach and small intestine, the contents of the colon plainly swarm with bacteria, mainly severe anaerobes -bacteria that survive only in environments that are completely devoid of oxygen.
Amid these two extremes is a transitional zone, normally in the ileum, where reasonable numbers of both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria are established.
The gastrointestinal tract is germ-free at birth, but migration characteristically starts within a small number of hours of birth, beginning from the small intestine and advancing gradually over a period of a number of days. In the majority of circumstances, a “mature” microbial flora is recognized by 3 to 4 weeks of age.
- Use in food
Microorganisms are made use of in brewing, wine making, baking, pickling and other food-manufacturing processes. They are as well employed in the control of the fermentation process in the manufacture of cultured dairy products like in yogurt and cheese.
The cultures as well make available flavour and aroma, and eliminate undesirable organisms.
- Use in water treatment
The majority of all oxidative sewage treatment processes depend on a large array of microorganisms to oxidize organic components which are not agreeable to sedimentation or flotation.
Anaerobic microorganisms are as well utilized to reduce slush solids manufacturing methane gas in the midst of other gases and a germ-free mineralized residue.
In drinkable water treatment, one method, the slow sand filter, uses a complicated jellylike layer made up of an extensive array of microorganisms to take away both dissolved and particulate material from raw water.
- Use in energy
Micro-organisms are made use of in fermentation to manufacturing ethanol, and in biogas reactors to manufacture of methane. Scientists are conducting research on the use of algae to manufacture of liquid fuels, and bacteria to change different types of agricultural and urban waste into utilizable fuels.
- Use in production of chemicals, enzymes etc
Micro-organisms are employed for a lot of commercial and industrial manufacturing of chemicals, enzymes and other bioactive molecules.
Examples of organic acid manufacture are:
• Acetic acid: Manufactured by the bacterium Acetobacter aceti and other acetic acid bacteria (AAB)
• Butyric acid (butanoic acid): Manufactured by the bacterium Clostridium butyricum
• Lactic acid: Lactobacillus and others usually known as lactic acid bacteria (LAB)
• Citric acid: Manufactured by the fungus Aspergillus niger
- Diseases caused by Microbes
Micro-organisms are the reason of a lot of infectious diseases.
The organisms concerned are pathogenic bacteria-they cause diseases like plague, tuberculosis and anthrax; protozoa- they cause diseases like malaria, sleeping sickness, dysentery and toxoplasmosis; and as well fungi-they cause diseases like ringworm, candidiasis or histoplasmosis.
Nevertheless, a few diseases like influenza, yellow fever or AIDS are caused by pathogenic viruses, which are not normally classified as living organisms and are not, therefore, micro-organisms by the stringent definition.
- Use in Food in Hygiene
Hygiene is the prevention of infection or food spoiling by removing microorganisms from the surroundings. As microorganisms, in particular bacteria, are discovered practically all over the place, the levels of injurious microorganisms can be minimized to suitable levels.
Nevertheless, in a few cases, it is needed that an object or substance be entirely sterile, i.e. free of every living entities and viruses. A good instance is a hypodermic needle.
- Active use of lactic acid bacteria
Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are an essential class of bacteria in food production. They are vigorously made use of in the manufacture of fermented foods like cured sausages and yoghurt, and a few LAB possess probiotic properties, ie. they possess a positive effect on consumer health.
Fighting unwanted bacteria
A lot of bacteria possess a negative effect on food because they depreciate the food’s consumption quality or make it unsafe for consumption. When microorganisms break down and deteriorate food, these results to an increased food waste and wastage, which in turn has crucial financial and environmental consequences.
Staying further on in knowledge of the expression, deterrence and fight against bacteria is consequently an endless battle.
Credit : Article sent in by a fan through email “okoh praise” Biology lessons app