Benefitsand Harm of Microbial Life Forms
HarmfulArchaea species such as Methanosphaera stadmanae found in the humancolon, are associated with induction of monocyte-derived dendriticcell maturation and strong pro-inflammatory that leads toinflammatory bowel disease in patients. According to (Horz &Conrads 2012), Methanogenic Archaea such as Methanobrevibactersmithii, Mathanosphaera, and Methanoscarcina, found in the humanmouth, have been associated with subgingival dental plaque.
UsefulArchaea such as Extremophile Archaea are a source of enzymes thathave a diverse range of uses. Thermostable DNA polymerases, made fromPyrococcus furiosus, is used as a simple and rapid technique for DNAcloning. Extremophiles are found in regions of extreme acidity andalkalinity.
Pathogenicbacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus found on the human skin causesskin infections, pneumonia, and infections of the heart valves.Neisseria gonorrhea, found in the urethra of the reproductive system,is also a harmful fungus that causes gonorrhea.
Somebacteria, however, plays a positive role. Non-pathogenic bacteriasuch as Staphylococcus epidermis found on the human skin, in thenose, mouth, and throat, plays a part of normal skin flora.Lactobacillus acidophilus, found in the small and large intestineplays a role in healthy intestinal flora.
Someprotists are harmful. Plasmodium protist, commonly known as malariaparasites that use mosquitoes as intermittent host infects human withmalaria. African sickness is also associated with Trypanosoma protistspread by tsetse fly causes sleeping sickness. Eating foodcontaminated by fecal material causes giardiasis associated withGiardia protist.
Otherprotists have a significant role in human life. Slime mold, a groupof protists, found on algae, are used in technology. Physarumpolycephalum has tubes are used in computing technology to processinformation and testing and diagnosis of medical samples.
Harmfulfungi such as potato’s late blight (Phytophthora infestans), wheatblack stem rust (Puccinia graminis), rice brown spot (Helmintosporiumoryzae), causes diseases to important food crops. An infestation ofAspergillus, Cercospora, and Cryptococcus mycosis induces animal andhuman diseases.
Fungihave an important role in human life. Saccharomyces cerevisiae,commonly referred to as yeast, is used in the production of foodproducts, beverages. Saccharomyces cerevisiae, an enzyme derived fromthe mold (Neurospora crassa), is used in genome sequence.
Thanks,Teng. Lots of great examples of microbes in your post. You mentionedslime molds and the benefits they play in biotechnology. They are aninteresting group of organisms. Slime molds have been responsible fordestroying a lot of crops leading to famine in the past. The potatofamine was because slime mold destroyed the potato crop for a coupleof years in a row. Here is a video about a slime mold:
Hello,thank you for your response. I agree with you that despite slimemolds being unicellular organisms, they have a lot of impact on theecosystem. As is evident in the video, these micro-organisms canaggregate and form multicellular reproductive structures. It is alsofascinating how these organisms respond to decline in food shortages.When food is scarce, they hibernate until the next season when thesame will be in plenty. This behavior is also witnessed in some ofthe micro-organisms that I have named in my post like types ofbacteria. A majority of them require specific PH and temperatures tocarry out its activities properly. When any of the conditions arelacking, they fail to carry out their normal activities likeproduction. This happens when there are extremely low temperatures.Bacteria that can withstand very low PH are called Acidophiles. Someof the most common pathogenic bacteria associated with foodcontamination and are Acidophiles and include Salmonella species andcertain strains of Escherichia coli.
Methanococcus- these archaea is an extremophile that lives on hot vents in theocean. They produce the gas methane, which is used as fuel. Thiscould also be dangerous as it is a greenhouse gas.
Sulfolobus- This is a type of archaea that grow in volcanic hot springs andmetabolize sulfur for energy. This can be hazardous for humansbecause sulfur mine runoff can become tainted with the sulfurbyproducts and pollute drinking water.
BifidobacteriumLongum – This bacteria produces a hostile environment in theintestines of babies. The environment it produces is not hostile tothe host, however, but other bad kinds of bacteria.
Staphylococcus- Is a common bacteria found on the skin that can sometimes causeimpetigo, which is a very contagious skin infection around the mouthand nose.
Diatoms- These are protists that produce a shell used in cleaning orfiltering products such as diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth canbe used to filter metal shavings out of oil so it can be reused.
GiardiaProtozoa – These protists can cause intense vomiting and diarrhea inhumans. The protozoa are found in improperly treated drinking water,or water in lakes and slow moving streams. They function by becomingparasitic after ingestion.
Penicillium- This is a fungus that is used to produce penicillin, which is animportant antibiotic. Can also be used to make cheese, which I thinkwe all can agree is super delicious.
Candida- This is a type of yeast that normally lives in our throats,digestive tracts, and in the vagina. It can cause an overgrowth whichcan produce thrush.
HiCarl, I liked your post. Indeed, not all the micro-organismsinhabiting the earth cause diseases. Some such as Fungi are used inthe processes of fermentation to make Yeast and are thus important innumerous industrial operations. Just to add to what you have written,Fungi and Bacteria also play a very critical role in the process ofdecomposition which leads to the release of essential nutrients intothe land. Additionally, you have indicated that Archaea can withstandvery high temperatures and are thus able to live in hot vents in theocean. From my research, organisms which can survive such harshconditions like very high temperatures are very hard to destroy(Lupetti et al. 2014). Current methods that can be used to managesuch microbes may require the usage of certain chemicals andradiation. Lastly, one of the leading cause of infections in theUnited States and other countries around the world is GiardiaProtozoa. Many people often expose themselves to these microbes evenwithout knowing in streams, rivers, and through contaminated drinkingwater. As an intervention, I would recommend that one wearsappropriate protective gears especially during the rainy season andwhen walking in stagnant waters. It should be mandatory that oneboils drinking water before finally consuming it to kill all themicrobes that may be present.
Archaealive in extreme environments high pressures, salt concentrations andtemperatures. Archaea is found in human intestines and is moreprevalent in people with IBS. This microbe can contribute to humanobesity. Archaea possess DNA and RNA polymerases and wrap their DNAaround histones. The scientific name for Archaea and common name arethe same.
Bacteriaare found in every habitat on earth soil, rock, water, and snow.Everyday yogurt has a great bacteria called lactobacillus bulgaricus.The only other name I can find for this bacteria is thermobacteriumbulgaricum. The black death was caused by a bacteria called yersiniapestis. This killed over 350 million people. The common name for thisbacteria is bubonic plague.
Protistsare found mostly in the water. They serve as the site for 50% of theworld`s photosynthesis. Chromalveolatais the "forest of theocean" aka kelp.A protist that is damaging to humans isTrypanosomes brusei this causes African sleeping sickness.
Fungiare found in soil and plant material. Yeast from Saccharomycescerevisiae helps to produce bread and beer which is helpful to allhumans! Ringworm is caused by dermatophytes creating inflammation inresponse to metabolic by-products.
Hello,thank you for such an insightful post. It was very interesting howyou focused mostly on the positive effects of microbes. I agree withyou that most of the times, people tend to concentrate on thenegative sides and fail to recognize that these organisms alsobenefit human beings in one way or another. Just to add to what youhave said about bacteria, I think they have been successfuldisease-causing organisms because of their ability to developresistance from several medications. For this reason, it is alwaysrecommended that one always completes his or her medication asscheduled by the physician so as to reduce incidences ofantimicrobial resistance. Another critical point is the role thatthese microbes play in photosynthesis. Protists which serve as thesite for 50% of the total global photosynthesis is necessary for thesurvival of both plant and animal lives. Additionally, understandingabout groups of organisms such as Archaea can help in the managementof diseases and conditions such as obesity. In the United States,childhood obesity is a major health concern, and by destroying someArchaea present in the stomach region, obesity can be managed.
Lupetti,A., Barnini, S., Dodi, C., Menconi, M., Favre, C., Giagnoni, M. &Campa, M. (2014). New rapid methods cannot replace the current methodto diagnose bloodstream infections. Journalof medical microbiology, 63(5),767-769.