Saturday, 7 January 2012

What is Microorganisms?

Microorganisms are very tiny one-celled organisms, viruses, fungi, and bacteria, and are found everywhere in the world. They are found in all living things, plants and animal. There are more microorganisms on and inside your body than there are cells that make up your entire body. Microorganisms can live in the air, on land, and in fresh or salt water environments. Some of them, pathogens, can be harmful and causes diseases, but there are some microorganisms that are needed for living things to survive.All of the living things, plant and animal, in earth's environmental communities of forests, deserts, tundra, water, air, and all of the rest depend on the cryptobiotic crust or microbiotic layer in the soil. This is the layer of soil that most microbes live in. These microbe communities are made up of fungi, cyanobacteria and lichens. They look like a grayish cover on the ground when they are first forming, but do form in clumps of lichen that look like little hills after about 50 years of growth.

How are microorganisms identified?
Microorganisms are put into groups, but a lot of microorganisms can belong to more than one group. One way that microorganisms are grouped is by the temperature in their environment. Another way to organize microorganisms is by placing them in either the prokaryot or eukaryot group.
How do microorganisms reproduce??
Thermophiles reproduce either by sexual or asexual reproduction. Sexual reproduction requires a male and female organism, but asexual reproduction happens by cell division, mitosis. Thermophilic fungi reproduce by producing male and female spores that come in contact with each other to produce a new organism.
What do microorganisms do?


Microorganisms also are responsible for building fertile soil for plants to grow in. Microbes stick to the roots of plants and decompose dead organic matter into food for the plant to absorb. The plants that live and grow because of the microorganisms that live on them make a home for other animals to live in. Some microorganisms make people, animals, and plants sick, but others make people well and kill the bacteria on plants that make them sick. Drug companies that make medicines use hundreds of different microorganisms to make medicines that will help cure diseases. Human waste products are broken down into safer particles by some microorganism. Scientists are always looking for new ways to use microbes, and only a few uses have been listed here.
What is fungi?
Fungi is a group of simple plants that have no chlorophyll. There are some species of fungi that are single celled organisms, and there are other kinds of fungi that are multi-cellular organisms. Fungi are made up of filaments called hyphe that are stacked together from end to end. Some kinds of fungi live on land and other types of fungi live in water environments. Since fungi has no chlorophyll, it can not make its own food. Some types of fungi lives off of other organisms and are parasites, but other fungi species feed off of dead and decaying matter. A third kind of fungi lives with other organisms and neither the fungi or the organism is hurt. This kind of relationship is called positive symbiosis.
Management Group Photograph
Fungus like this one feed on the remains of dead plant and animal matter.Spores are released from the underside of mushroom caps during the reproductive cycle of mushrooms
How is fungi identified?
USDA PhotographUSDA PhotographNASA PhotographDennis Kunkel Stock Photograph
Witches Broom Fungi
attacks cacao trees
that produce chocolate
Trichoderma is a good fungi, it attacks bad fungus that destroys crops.MushroomHyphae
How does fungi reproduce?
When reproductive hyphae cells are made by the fungus, a mushroom shape forms at the top. The scientific name for the mushroom shape is the sporocarp. It has one purpose, that is to release reproductive spores. The sporocarp is not part of the live fungi. Reproduction in fungi is sexual, but the spores which contain the reproductive cells must somehow come in contact with one another before fungi can reproduce.
Dennis Kunkel Stock PhotographDennis Kunkel Stock Photograph
What does fungi do?

Fungi are important decomposers of dead animal and plant matter. They break down deadorganic matter into simple compounds that can be absorbed by the plants around it. During the process of decomposing matter, fungi returns carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Green plants use the carbon dioxide during photosynthesis to produce food. Oxygen is released into the atmosphere during the process of photosynthesis, so animal and human life depends on the fungi for survival. Plants also benefit from fungi because some fungi settle around the roots of plants. As the fungus decomposes dead matter around the roots of the plant, it leaves behind nutrients that the plant needs. Some fungi, like mushrooms, are used as ingredients in recipes. They add flavor to meals.

National Park Service Photograph
Fungus in caves break down minerals in rock walls.
What are viruses?
Viruses are non-living microscopic particles that attack healthy cells within living things. They do not have the characteristics of living things and are not able to metabolize food. To metabolize means to change food energy into chemical energy that the body can use. Viruses are not alive, so they do not have a need for food like living oganisms. Viruses do not have an organized cell structure. They are so light that they can float in the air or water, be passed on to other organisims if touched, and fit anywhere. The virus injects its own DNA structure into healthy cells where new virus cells grow.
How are viruses identified?
Viruses that are mature have characteristics that help to identify them.
RNA(ribonuceic acid) and DNA(dioxiribonucleic acid) structure
protein coat that surrounds nucleic acids
they invade hosts to reproduce
their size
Dennis Kunkel Stock PhotographDennis Kunkel Stock Photograph
human immunodeficiency virus
infected lymph tissue
Herpes simplex virus
invaded vacuole of human cell
Dennis Kunkel Stock Photograph
Dennis Kunkel Stock Photograph
Polio virus
RNA virus
Picornaviridae Family
Influenza A virus
Human Infection
How do viruses reproduce?
Viruses can not reproduce by themselves like bacteria or cells. They must attach themselves to the cell membrane of animals, or cell wall of plants and inject a part of their DNA into the cells of the host organism.. They do this by using a hollow tube structure to puncture the cell wall/membrane and pass its DNA into the cell. New virus cells are incubated inside the invaded cell. Once the virus DNA reproduces itself inside the cell, it uses the natural process of osmosis to leave the cell. These new virus cells attach to other healthy cells and infect them too.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources Image
What do viruses do?
Viruses invade the cells of both plants and animals. They reproduce inside healthy cells causing diseases that are hard to treat. There are no know anitibiotics or other medicines that are known to kill viruses.
USDA PhotograhUSDA Photograh
Viruses like this Plum Pox attack plants and ruin the fruit. It is spread from plant to plant by insects like this green peach aphid
What are bacteria?
Bacteria are part of a very large group of single-celled organisms. There is one group of bacteria that have chlorophyll and use the process of photosynthesis to produce their own food. Bacteria that are parasites live inside man, animals, and some plants causing diseases. Symptoms for disease caused by the toxins that bacteria produce inside the cells. Some bacteria are aerobic, meaning that they require oxygen in order to survive. Other bacteria are anaerobes, meaning that they do not require oxygen to survive. Bacteria is moved by air and water currents, and on any surface such as clothing, hands, or any object. They move themselves by using thin hair-like structures called flagella or by wriggling if they do not have a flagella..
Dennis Kunkel Stock PhotographyDennis Kunkel Stock PhotographDennis Kunkel Stock PhotographyNASA Photograph
Bacilli BacteriaCocci BacteriaSpirilla Bacteria
with hair-like
This bacteria is a magnetotactic bacteria and produces the mineral magnetite. The magnetite acts as a natural magnet.
How are bacteria identified?
There are three ways to identify bacteria; gram stain, respiration, and shape. A gram stain is a method of dying bacteria so that they can be identified. The gram stain results will either be positive or negative. Gram-positive bacteria show up blue-black under a microscope, and gram-negagive bacteria show up red. Respiration is not the same as breathing, as a lot of people believe. All of your cells go through a process of respiration that breaks down substances into a simple form and releases energy in the process.
Dennis Kunkel Stock PhotographDennis Kunkel Stock PhotographDennis Kunkel Stock PhotographyDennis Kunkel Stock PhotographDennis Kunkel Stock Photograph
Rod-Shaped BacteriaFilamentous
iron oxidizing bacterium
Curved Rod
How do bacteria reproduce?
Most bacteria reproduce asexually. That means that new cells are formed during single cell division. Some bacteria can only reproduce sexually, with a male and female bacteria.
Dennis Kunkel Stock PhotographyDennis Kunkel Stock Photography
Sexual Reproduction -
Male and Female
Asexual Reproduction through
Division - Mitosis
What do bacteria do?
Bacteria are decomposers, they break down the chemical elements inside other living or dead organisms. Some bacteria live in the intestines of humans and animals. They decompose, or break down food particles so that they can be digested. Other bacteria live in the soil and water, they help break down dead matter there. Bacteria that live in the soil also recycle carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, and other chemical elements while decomposing matter.
Dennis Kunkel Stock PhotographyDennis Kunkel Stock Photograph
Bacteria Spores Inside Lung TissueBacterial Infection in Lung Tissue

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