What are bacteria? How are bacteria used in life?

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cdc LiNIONbajm4 unsplash

Bacteria or microbes are living organisms that consists of only one cell. They can live in various environments. These environments include oceans, glacials, oil and some other different places and materials. There are several interactions between bacteria and humans, and the number of these interactions is increasing day by day thanks to advancing technology. 

Bacteria can harm people, or they can create an interaction that named as mutualism. Mutualism involves two sides which benefit from this interaction. Bacteria can create not only mutualistic interactions but also some other different interactions.

Cell Structure of a Bacteria:

As I stated at the beginning, bacteria is a living organism that consists of only one cell. These single-celled organisms are called prokaryote. Bacteria do not have a core. Therefore, DNA exists on cytoplasm disorderly. There is no membrane organelle in bacteria. That’s why they do not contain chloroplasts and mitochondria. As a result, they sustain their energy requirement by carrying out various ways. 

Bacteria which sustain energy by carrying out respiration without oxygen are called anaerobic bacteria. Besides, bacteria that create energy by carrying out respiration with oxygen are called aerobic bacteria. Some other types of bacteria are called temporary anaerobic and aerobic. As a direct result of their small size and noncomplex evolution, the genetics of bacteria can change easily. Hence, they can be used for diverse purposes. 

Bacteria have plasmids that let them manage to gain some different and useful abilities. A plasmid can be described as a small, extrachromosomal DNA molecule within a cell that is physically separated from chromosomal DNA and can replicate independently. Artificial plasmids can be used for recombinant DNA technology and molecule cloning. Recombinant DNA technology can be described as cutting DNA by using some different genetic technologies and putting together with some other DNA molecules. As a result, DNA gains various abilities. These abilities make recombinant DNA technology rather important. 

Where are the bacteria used?

Water Treatment: Biological water treatment is one the most common way for water processing. Bacteria expedite the water treatment process in small areas such as water treatment facilities. Moreover, carrying out this process in these areas is better than carrying out in a natural lake or river for several reasons. Generally, anaerobic bacteria takes place in this process as pumps that contain oxygen are needed. This makes the process more cost-effective. 

As a result of this process, sewers which seen as total garbage and useless generates energy and also gets purified. Furthermore, bacteria such as ”Geobacter” and ”Shewanella” produce electron by consuming sludges in water. Also, methanogenic bacteria transform the CO2 into methane gas. Through the burning of this gas, energy is produced. Finally, Matthew Silver states that dairy products’ wastes contribute to a high amount of energy.

Producing Renewable Energy Resources:  Bacteria are used to produce biofuel, and biofuel is one of the most common renewable energy resources. Professor Nigel Scrutton from The University of Manchester and his colleagues modified Fibroblast Activation Protein(FAP) in bacteria, and they have succeeded in producing propane gas that can be used for fuel in various ways by fermentation and some other ways. Thus, it is believed that bacteria will be a key factor to produce renewable energy in the future. Scientists try to reduce the cost of this biofuel process, and it seems that this method will be used with a lower cost in the future. 

Cleaning Up Oil Pollution: Scientists go on searchings about finding the perfect bacteria for cleaning up oil pollution. In different parts of the world that contain oil contamination, oil-consuming bacteria has been detected. Bacteria are injected into the land in an artificial intervention method, but there is a problem in this method. The problem is these bacteria will compete with each other. Moreover, several nutrients given to the bacteria that have been injected into the land to evolve more efficiently, and this process is called ”biostimulation”. It is known that bacteria not only coordinate with the environment but also evolve so rapidly. That’s why it is rather likely that bacteria that exist in an area polluted with oil will evolve to feed on oil. 

Food Production: It can be said that photosynthesis is the main food source, and some type of bacteria carry out photosynthesis. These bacteria are called photosynthetic, and they carry out photosynthesis by using chlorophyll pigment. They produce food in this way, but we’ll talk about some different types of food production in that essay. Bacteria which is fed with hydrogen transform CO2 into the proteins that are a food source for humans. In other words, we can produce food from the air by using these bacteria. Furthermore, scientists know that plants transform CO2 that exists in the air into the food, and they carry out this process by doing photosynthesis, but they did not gain this ability in the evolutionary process. They created a mutualist relation between bacteria that can do photosynthesis. As a direct result of this relationship, they have connected. Food production by using bacteria seems a great way to solve not only ongoing but also possible future nutrient problems.

Cleaning Of Plastic Pollution: I have already said that bacteria not only coordinate with the environment but also evolve so rapidly. That situation is the same for bacteria that fed with plastic. Some bacteria that fed with plastic have been found and scientists try to enhance their efficiency. It is quite likely that great results will be achieved in the future by modifying the enzyme that consumes plastic. Plastic is a substance that dissolves in nature for a very long time and pollutes our nature. That’s why this research white hope for nature. 

Bacteria are also used for some different reasons thanks to their ability of rapid evolution and coordination. Bacteria that feed on greenhouse gases affect the climate, while bacteria that live in the human gut benefit by establishing a mutualistic relationship with humans. Moreover, there is a great number of benefits using bacteria for cancer treatment. It seems that bacteria are the main factor in the future, and they will solve our ongoing problems. Scientists find out a new ability of bacteria every day, and it is outstanding for the science world.