Essay Example on Microbes and Their Applications

Published: 2021-08-11 06:06:11
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A microbe is a short form for "microscopic organism," they are tiny life forms too small to be seen by the naked eye. Microbes are usually observed using a microscope. The term microbe is general as it describes many different types of life forms that vary drastically in size and characteristics. Microbes may include archaea, bacteria, fungi, microscopic animals, protists, and viruses. The human body happens to hosts almost most of the above categories except the microscopic plants.

Bacteria are single-celled microbes with has similar cell structure to other organisms that have no nucleus or membrane-bound organelles. The cell wall of bacteria is made of peptidoglycan and their control originate from genetic information contained in a single-loop of DNA. Bacteria vary in size as most of them are smaller than our body cells and even viruses but some though few are larger. The bacteria usually don't have organelles wrapped membrane. Some bacteria have a plasmid that contains genes to give them advantages like the gene that makes the bacterium resistant to certain antibiotics.

Archaea are also single-celled organisms with no nucleus or any other organelles inside their cells and the outer membrane contain unique lipids. They appear very similar to bacteria having similar size, shapes and even genetic materials. Biochemically, archaea are very different from bacteria and other life forms. They are believed to have independently evolved differently from bacteria. Archaea possess membranes consisting of a different lipid than those found in other organisms. Majority of Archaea have a cell wall which is different to the peptidoglycan cell wall associated with bacteria. Archaea replicate asexually also known as binary fission and are considered extremophiles due to the wide environmental tolerance of salinity, temperature, and radioactive environments.

Fungi can either be single-celled or multicellular organisms containing nuclei and cell walls comprising of chitin. They have mitochondria and membrane wrapped organelles. Unlike plants, fungi cannot manufacture food by themselves. Most common fungi include yeast, mold, and mushrooms. Yeast has small individual cells whose size is between those of the human cell and those of bacteria. Mushrooms and molds live as long microscopic fibers and are considered fruiting bodies of fungi. Fungi are decomposers. Their long fiber cells can penetrate plants and animals extracting nutrients while breaking them down. Some species of fungi live inside the human body but are harmless.

Protists are also found to be single-celled or multicellular organisms. They are microscopic with cell nuclei but are not classified as plants, animals or fungi. The multicellular protists occur in colonies without specialization. Protists are difficult to categories due to their diversity as they do not fit into other groups and are continually reorganized by the taxonomist. Some can manufacture food using chloroplasts but most do not. They also have many ways to move around including flagella, cilia, and amoebic action. Protists can reproduce in many ways and other having very complicated and complex life cycles. Parasitic Protists are able to cause deadly diseases like amoebic dysentery giardia and malaria while others are beneficial or harmless.

Viruses are microscopic parasites that are not able to reproduce by themselves. Due to this, they infect susceptible cells and direct the machinery of the cell to reproduce. Viruses have either RNA or DNA as genetic material. The nucleic acid in viruses is either single or double-stranded. In humans, viruses can infect not only the cells but also microbes living inside the body. Viruses that infect bacteria are known as bacteriophage.

Microbes have made significant contributions to the food industries and other processing industries. Since microbial growth depends on nutrients, pH, moisture content, the physical structure of the food, temperature, and humidity. The above facts can be used to carry out microbiological tests on food. This can be done by first determining the total count of microbes in a food sample providing a detailed microbial quality. Also, this information is essential in the determination of food safety. Food samples are analyzed and tested for food pathogens belonging to Enterobacteria, Enterococci, coliforms, E. coli and any other pathogens as Pseudomonas sp. Clostridia, Salmonella, Bacillus spp, Staphylococcus, lactic acid bacteria, Salmonella, Listeria, yeasts, and molds.

Food preservation can be achieved by removing the microorganisms by physical methods such as centrifugation, thermal treatment such as refrigeration and pasteurization. Dry freezing or lyophilization can be applied as it removes moisture. All these measures are used differently to control the presence of microbial. Microorganisms are also useful in the production of food as it adds flavor to some food. They are widely used in lactic, propionic and ethanoic fermentations ever since. These characteristics have led to the production of many cheese varieties and alcohol in the world. They can also transform raw food into sauces and pickles. Some microbes are sources of food by themselves. The best example is fungus Agaricusbisporus also known as the mushroom.

Waste is defined as all items that people no longer use. Waste come in many forms but can be categorized as organic and inorganic waste. Inorganic waste can be recycled but organic waste poses a challenge as it is not easily recycled. Organic waste is usually decomposing by the time it is collected. The decomposition gives the waste foul odor, rotten color and toxic chemicals to the environment. Microbes have been successfully used in bioremediation. The term refers to the use of living microorganisms to clean up environmental hazardous materials in soil and water surface or subsurface. The pollutant eating organisms are cultured whereby they are provided with fertilizer, oxygen, and other favorable factors to encourage rapid growth. This enables the organism to feed on the pollutants at a faster rate.

Bioaugmentation is the process of selecting standardized microbes and adding them to a target area which has been contaminated with unwanted substances in order to decompose. Due to scientific advances, it is now possible to isolate and mass produce pro-biotic bacteria and fungi into industrial concentrated inoculum to target a specific contaminant. The standardized high colony forming units allows the bioaugmentation process to remediate pollutants at a rate exceeding the natural indigenous microbes.

Microbes have played a major role in human health as it is the medium for most medical and pharmaceutical treatments offered. Some microbes can be used in the body to fight against other harmful microbes as they are a source of vaccines and antibiotics. They are present in both veterinary and human medicine that are used to prevent or treat infectious diseases. Antibiotics produced by these organisms kill or inhibit other microbes. In nature bacteria like Streptomyces, Bacillus and mold such as Penicillium produce antibiotics. Vaccines are derived from microorganisms useful for immunization. The microbes that are cause an infection are usually the source of the vaccine. In biotechnology, microbial genetics has been used in biological processes to produce useful substances.

By far the most important application of microbes is in the production of usable energy from waste products. Waste is one of the sour issues in our modern living and way to dispose or reuse waste have not changed much. Most of the countries prefer to treat the waste and dump or bury the waste. Organic materials are normally used in the production of biogas but due to the cost of setting up such facilities and maintaining them, most countries do not bother. This energy is left untapped until now were advances have made it possible to produce electricity directly from waste. This is important as it can be used to address the energy needs of the world and need for clean power.

Electricity is harvested from bacteria by the help of microbial fuel cells. The bacteria breathe out electrons as part of metabolism and they collect at the anode which the flow to the cathode creating an electric current flow. The cell consist of the two electrodes that are separated by a permeable membrane dipped in an electrolytic solution. The process is low cost and as simple as filling the microbial fuel cells with mud, waste or sewage and waiting for the bacteria to grow. The bacteria produces electricity directly without any intermediate processes and transfers the electrons directly to the electrodes.

The experimental cell consists of two halves: an anaerobic and aerobic chamber. In the aerobic half, bacteria decompose organic matter and free hydrogen ions that are positively charged are produced together with electrons. The electrons flow from the solution to the anode the electrically transmitted via a wire to the positively charged cathode. The hydrogen ions flow from the anaerobic chamber through the semi-permeable membrane to the cathode in the aerobic chamber due to the electrochemical gradient. Electrons combine with the dissolved oxygen and the hydrogen ions to form pure water. This process can be modified to produce hydrogen gas instead of water.

In conclusion, using the microbial fuel cell will prove to be a game changer in energy production and environmental conservation. It possesses the same benefits of all fuel cells and power plant with almost none of the negative environmental impact. The cost of setting up these facilities is also relatively cheap making it attractive to most countries and organization.

A microbe is a short form for "microscopic organism," they are tiny life forms too small to be seen by the naked eye. Microbes are usually observed using a microscope. The term microbe is general as it describes many different types of life forms that vary drastically in size and characteristics. Microbes may include archaea, bacteria, fungi, microscopic animals, protists, and viruses. The human body happens to hosts almost most of the above categories except the microscopic plants.

Bacteria are single-celled microbes with has similar cell structure to other organisms that have no nucleus or membrane-bound organelles. The cell wall of bacteria is made of peptidoglycan and their control originate from genetic information contained in a single-loop of DNA. Bacteria vary in size as most of them are smaller than our body cells and even viruses but some though few are larger. The bacteria usually don't have organelles wrapped membrane. Some bacteria have a plasmid that contains genes to give them advantages like the gene that makes the bacterium resistant to certain antibiotics.

Archaea are also single-celled organisms with no nucleus or any other organelles inside their cells and the outer membrane contain unique lipids. They appear very similar to bacteria having similar size, shapes and even genetic materials. Biochemically, archaea are very different from bacteria and other life forms. They are believed to have independently evolved differently from bacteria. Archaea possess membranes consisting of a different lipid than those found in other organisms. Majority of Archaea have a cell wall which is different to the peptidoglycan cell wall associated with bacteria. Archaea replicate asexually also known as binary fission and are considered extremophiles due to the wide environmental tolerance of salinity, temperature, and radioactive environments.

Fungi can either be single-celled or multicellular organisms containing nuclei and cell walls comprising of chitin. They have mitochondria and membrane wrapped organelles. Unlike plants, fungi cannot manufacture food by themselves. Most common fungi include yeast...

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