What are bacteria?

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โˆ™ 2017-12-03 03:50:24

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Bacteria (plural of bacterium) are microscopic single-celled organisms (prokaryotes) that reproduce by binary fission, i.e. one cell splits into two, the two cells split into four, etc., etc. The original Greek word (bakterion)meant "rod" or "staff" (like a walking stick) as the first ones discovered looked like a stick (see the picture above). They do not all look like sticks--they can also be round like balls or even spirals like a spring.

Bacteria are the most abundant organisms in the world and live in nearly every environment, including our own bodies. Those that live in nature help in recycling nutrients through decomposition and various other tasks that are too numerous to list. Without bacteria, we would not be able to survive--they are that important.

Most of them are harmless to, or even helpful for, the human body. In fact, you have more bacteria cells in your body than your own human cells. Those that live on or in our body are often called our "Natural Flora". There are something like 500 different species living in our bodies. They aid with digestion, produce vitamins, etc.

Other bacteria, the stuff we worry about, cause food poisoning (E. coli), strep throat, tetanus, pneumonia, and a host of serious illnesses (typhoid fever, cholera, leprosy, tuberculosis....) These bacteria are "pathogens" (can cause disease), or are said to be "virulent". Another service our natural flora (good bacteria) do for us is compete for resources (ie; they eat all the "food" and take up all the space) which can keep the virulent (bad) bacteria from reproducing enough to make us sick.

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โˆ™ 2017-12-03 03:50:24
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โˆ™ 2015-12-29 04:21:46

A bacterium is a single-celled organism with cell walls but no nucleus or organelles.

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