Importance of Bacteria
Bacteria are single celled organisms that are void of nucleus or membrane bound organelles. The three most prominent forms of bacteria are cocci which are spherical, bacilli which are rod-shaped and spirilla which are spiral shaped. Bacteria are found everywhere; inside our bodies and around us. These microscopic organisms are capable of surviving in any extreme environmental conditions; from icy, cold weather to humid, warm temperatures.
The classification of bacteria depends on the physical shape of the bacteria. Bacteria are mostly classified into five categories. Spherical bacteria are known as cocci, rod-shaped bacteria are known as bacilli, spiral-shaped bacteria are known as spirilla, comma-shaped bacteria are known as vibrios and the corkscrew-shaped bacteria are called spirochaetes.
But not everyone knows the pros and cons of the presence of bacteria. While some kind of bacteria are good for human beings, there are other types of bacteria that can cause harm to human beings.
For example, the strains of E. coli bacteria that are naturally present in our bodies, help in digestion of food. While there are some harmful strains of E. coli bacteria that cause ill symptoms like diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever and so on. Thus, we get an idea on the pros and cons of bacteria. Now, let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of bacteria in day to day lives.
Benefits of Bacteria
Milk and bacteria are interdependent on each other since milk serves as a great medium for bacterial growth. Human beings are considered to be the only species that drinks milk in adulthood and drinks the milk of other animals. Let’s look at some advantages of bacteria:
- Bacteria are known for efficient recycling of products as they are considered to be great decomposers of organic matter in soil and ocean.
- A few species of bacteria can convert milk into other dairy products like curd, yoghurt, buttermilk and cheese.
- Bacteria is mostly used in food industries, where their strains are utilized to make fermented food items.
- Certain soil bacteria help in transforming atmospheric nitrogen into ammonium or nitrates, which plants consume to create amino acids and nucleic acids.
- Human beings make use of bacteria by producing products like ethanol and enzymes and making medicinal products like vaccines and antibiotics.
- Certain bacteria are useful in killing plant pests that destroy crops and lower agricultural production.
- Bacteria breaks down substances like carbohydrates and toxins. Bacteria also absorb all fatty acids that the cells require to grow.
- Bacteria also break down dead substances in the environment such as dead leaves, releasing carbon dioxide and nutrients in the process. If carbon dioxide is not released, then plants cannot grow. Thus, showing the importance of bacteria in the environment.
Disadvantages of Bacteria
Even though there are numerous pros to the presence of bacteria, there are certain bacteria that are harmful. Below is a list of the harmful effects of bacteria around us:
- If humans come in contact with harmful bacteria, the bacteria reproduce inside the body and tend to release toxins that cause health issues.
- Bacteria are carriers of diseases and approximately 90% of human diseases are due to the presence of bacteria.
- Certain animal diseases caused by bacteria infection include Anthrax, Brucellosis and Blackleg.
- When the bacteria is infectious, the bacteria multiply rapidly at the location of infection and speed up the body’s defence mechanism.
- One can never think of storing or preserving food for longer periods, as bacteria cause spoilage of food items.
- When bacteria are harmful in nature, they are called pathogenic bacteria. Pathogenic bacteria can cause health illness like tuberculosis, cholera, diarrhoea, and food poisoning.
- Certain bacteria are capable of multiplying in water, and therefore creating water pollution. Water pollution due to the presence of bacteria that gives shelter to bacterias like Vibrio cholerae and Salmonella typhi.
Hence, with this article, we learn the importance of bacteria in our daily lives. Exploring the benefits and disadvantages of bacteria, explained how properties of bacteria differ depending on the species it belongs to. Apart from human beings, bacteria contributes to the field of medicine and agriculture.
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