Presentation on theme: "Presented by – Mark Evans. What are microbes? A microorganism (from the Greek: μικρός, mikrós, "small" and ὀ ργανισμός, organismós, "organism"; also."— Presentation transcript:
Presented by – Mark Evans
What are microbes? A microorganism (from the Greek: μικρός, mikrós, "small" and ὀ ργανισμός, organismós, "organism"; also spelled micro- organism, micro organism or microörganism) or microbe is a microscopic organism that comprises either a single cell (unicellular), cell clusters., or multicellular relatively complex organisms. The study of microorganisms is called microbiology, a subject that began with Anton van Leeuwenhoek's discovery of microorganisms in 1675, using a microscope of his own design. Microorganisms are very diverse; they include bacteria, fungi, algae, and protozoa; microscopic plants (green algae); and animals such as rotifers and planarians. Some microbiologists also include viruses, but others consider these as nonliving. Most microorganisms are unicellular (single-celled), but this is not universal, since some multicellular organisms are microscopic, while some unicellular protists and bacteria, like Thiomargarita namibiensis, are macroscopic and visible to the naked eye.
Microorganisms live in all parts of the biosphere where there is liquid water, including soil, hot springs, on the ocean floor, high in the atmosphere and deep inside rocks within the Earth's crust. Microorganisms are critical to nutrient recycling in ecosystems as they act as decomposers. As some microorganisms can fix nitrogen, they are a vital part of the nitrogen cycle, and recent studies indicate that airborne microbes may play a role in precipitation and weather. Microbes are also exploited by people in biotechnology, both in traditional food and beverage preparation, and in modern technologies based on genetic engineering. However, pathogenic microbes are harmful, since they invade and grow within other organisms, causing diseases that kill humans, other animals and plants. But they have a lot of uses too. Let’s discuss about some of them.
A little description Microorganisms are vital to humans and the environment, as they participate in the Earth's element cycles such as the carbon cycle and nitrogen cycle, as well as fulfilling other vital roles in virtually all ecosystems, such as recycling other organisms' dead remains and waste products through decomposition. Microbes also have an important place in most higher-order multicellular organisms as symbionts. Many blame the failure of Biosphere 2 on an improper balance of microbes.
Uses in food Microorganisms are used in brewing, winemaking, baking, pickling and other food-making processes. They are also used to control the fermentation process in the production of cultured dairy products such as yogurt and cheese. The cultures also provide flavour and aroma, and inhibit undesirable organisms. Fermentation in food processing typically is the conversion of carbohydrates to alcohols and carbon dioxide or organic acids using yeasts, bacteria, or a combination thereof, under anaerobic conditions. Fermentation in simple terms is the chemical conversion of sugars into ethanol. The science of fermentation is also known as zymology, or zymurgy. Fermentation usually implies that the action of microorganisms is desirable, and the process is used to produce alcoholic beverages such as wine, beer, and cider. Fermentation is also employed in the leavening of bread (CO 2 produced by yeast activity), and for preservation techniques to produce lactic acid in sour foods such as sauerkraut, dry sausages, kimchi and yogurt, or vinegar (acetic acid) for use in pickling foods.
Uses in water treatment Specially-cultured microbes are used in the biological treatment of sewage and industrial waste effluent, a process known as bioaugmentation. Bioaugmentation is the introduction of a group of natural microbial strains or a genetically engineered variant to treat contaminated soil or water. Usually the steps involve studying the indigenous varieties present in the location to determine if biostimulation is possible. If the indigenous variety do not have the metabolic capability to perform the remediation process, exogenous varieties with such sophisticated pathways are introduced. Bioaugmentation is commonly used in municipal wastewater treatment to restart activated sludge bioreactors. Most cultures available contain a research based consortium of Microbial cultures, containing all necessary microorganisms (B. licheniformis, B. thurengensis, P. polymyxa, B. sterothemophilus, Penicillium sp., Aspergillus sp., Flavobacterium, Arthrobacter, Pseudomonas, Streptomyces, Saccaromyces, Triphoderma, etc.). Whereas activated sludge systems are generally based on microorganisms like bacteria, protozoa, nematodes, rotifers and fungi capable to degrade bio degradable organic matter.
Uses in energy Microbes are used in fermentation to produce ethanol, and in biogas reactors to produce methane. Scientists are researching the use of algae to produce liquid fuels, and bacteria to convert various forms of agricultural and urban waste into usable fuels. Ethanol fermentation, also referred to as alcoholic fermentation, is a biological process in which sugars such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose are converted into cellular energy and thereby produce ethanol and carbon dioxide as metabolic waste products. Because yeasts perform this conversion in the absence of oxygen, ethanol fermentation is classified as anaerobic. Ethanol fermentation occurs in the production of alcoholic beverages and ethanol fuel, and in the rising of bread dough. Cellulosic ethanol is a biofuel produced from wood, grasses, or the non-edible parts of plants. It is a type of biofuel produced from lignocellulose, a structural material that comprises much of the mass of plants. Lignocellulose is composed mainly of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. Corn stover, switchgrass, miscanthus, woodchips and the byproducts of lawn and tree maintenance are some of the more popular cellulosic materials for ethanol production. Production of ethanol from lignocellulose has the advantage of abundant and diverse raw material compared to sources like corn and cane sugars, but requires a greater amount of processing to make the sugar monomers available to the microorganisms that are typically used to produce ethanol by fermentation.
Algae fuel is an alternative to fossil fuel that uses algae as its source of natural deposits. Several companies and government agencies are funding efforts to reduce capital and operating costs and make algae fuel production commercially viable. Harvested algae, like fossil fuel, release CO 2 when burnt but unlike fossil fuel the CO 2 is taken out of the atmosphere by the growing algae. High oil prices, competing demands between foods and other biofuel sources, and the world food crisis, have ignited interest in algaculture (farming algae) for making vegetable oil, biodiesel, bioethanol, biogasoline, biomethanol, biobutanol and other biofuels, using land that is not suitable for agriculture. Among algal fuels' attractive characteristics: they can be grown with minimal impact on fresh water resources, can be produced using ocean and wastewater, and are biodegradable and relatively harmless to the environment if spilled. Algae cost more per unit mass (as of 2010, food grade algae costs ~$5000/tonne), due to high capital and operating costs, yet are claimed to yield between 10 and 100 times more fuel per unit area than other second-generation biofuel crops. One biofuels company has claimed that algae can produce more oil in an area the size of a two car garage than a football field of soybeans, because almost the entire algal organism can use sunlight to produce lipids, or oil. The United States Department of Energy estimates that if algae fuel replaced all the petroleum fuel in the United States, it would require 15,000 square miles (39,000 km 2 ) which is only 0.42% of the U.S. map, or about half of the land area of Maine. This is less than 1 ⁄ 7 the area of corn harvested in the United States in However, these claims remain unrealized, commercially. According to the head of the Algal Biomass Organization algae fuel can reach price parity with oil in 2018 if granted production tax credits.
Use in production of chemicals, enzymes etc. Many microbes are used for commercial and industrial production of chemicals, enzymes and other bioactive molecules. Examples of organic acid produced include Acetic acid: Produced by the bacterium Acetobacter aceti and other acetic acid bacteria (AAB) Acetic acid bacteria (AAB) are bacteria that derive their energy from the oxidation of ethanol to acetic acid during fermentation. They are Gram-negative, aerobic, rod-shaped bacteria. They are not to be confused with the genus Acetobacterium, which are anaerobic homoacetogenic facultative autotrophs and can reduce carbon dioxide to produce acetic acid, for example, Acetobacterium woodii.
Butyric acid (butanoic acid): Produced by the bacterium Clostridium butyricumClostridium butyricum is a strictly anaerobic endospore-forming Gram-positive butyric acid producing bacillus subsisting by means of fermentation using an intracellularly accumulated amylopectin-like α- polyglucan (granulose) as a substrate. It is uncommonly reported as a human pathogen and widely used as a probiotic in Asia (particularly Japan). C. butyricum is a soil inhabitant in various parts of the world, has been cultured from the stool of healthy children and adults, and is common in soured milk and cheeses.
Lactic acid: Lactobacillus and others commonly called as lactic acid bacteria (LAB) The lactic acid bacteria (LAB) comprise a clade of Gram-positive, low-GC, acid-tolerant, generally non- sporulating, non-respiring rod or cocci that are associated by their common metabolic and physiological characteristics. These bacteria, usually found in decomposing plants and lactic products, produce lactic acid as the major metabolic end-product of carbohydrate fermentation. This trait has, throughout history, linked LAB with food fermentations, as acidification inhibits the growth of spoilage agents. Proteinaceous bacteriocins are produced by several LAB strains and provide an additional hurdle for spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms. Furthermore, lactic acid and other metabolic products contribute to the organoleptic and textural profile of a food item. The industrial importance of the LAB is further evinced by their generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status, due to their ubiquitous appearance in food and their contribution to the healthy microflora of human mucosal surfaces.
Citric acid: Produced by the fungus Aspergillus niger Aspergillus niger is a fungus and one of the most common species of the genus Aspergillus. It causes a disease called black mold on certain fruits and vegetables such as grapes, onions, and peanuts, and is a common contaminant of food. It is ubiquitous in soil and is commonly reported from indoor environments, where its black colonies can be confused with those of Stachybotrys (species of which have also been called "black mould").
Microbes are used for preparation of bioactive molecules and enzymes. Streptokinase produced by the bacterium Streptococcus and modified by genetic engineering is used as a clot buster for removing clots from the blood vessels of patients who have undergone myocardial infarctions leading to heart attack. Cyclosporin A is a bioactive molecule used as an immunosuppressive agent in organ transplantation Stains produced by the yeast Monascus purpureus is commercialised as blood cholesterol lowering agents which acts by competitively inhibiting the enzyme responsible for synthesis of cholesterol.
Uses in science Microbes are also essential tools in biotechnology, biochemistry, genetics, and molecular biology. The yeasts (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and fission yeast (Schizosaccharomyces pombe) are important model organisms in science, since they are simple eukaryotes that can be grown rapidly in large numbers and are easily manipulated. They are particularly valuable in genetics, genomics and proteomics. Microbes can be harnessed for uses such as creating steroids and treating skin diseases. Scientists are also considering using microbes for living fuel cells, and as a solution for pollution.
Uses in warfare In the Middle Ages, diseased corpses were thrown into castles during sieges using catapults or other siege engines. Individuals near the corpses were exposed to the deadly pathogen and were likely to spread that pathogen to others. Biological warfare (also known as germ warfare) is the use of biological toxins or infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi with intent to kill or incapacitate humans, animals or plants as an act of war. Biological weapons (often termed "bio-weapons" or "bio-agents") are living organisms or replicating entities (viruses) that reproduce or replicate within their host victims. Entomological (insect) warfare is also considered a type of biological warfare. Biological weapons may be employed in various ways to gain a strategic or tactical advantage over an adversary, either by threats or by actual deployments. Like some of the chemical weapons, biological weapons may also be useful as area denial weapons. These agents may be lethal or non-lethal, and may be targeted against a single individual, a group of people, or even an entire population. They may be developed, acquired, stockpiled or deployed by nation states or by non-national groups. In the latter case, or if a nation-state uses it clandestinely, it may also be considered bioterrorism.
Importance in human health Microorganisms can form an endosymbiotic relationship with other, larger organisms. For example, the bacteria that live within the human digestive system contribute to gut immunity, synthesise vitamins such as folic acid and biotin, and ferment complex indigestible carbohydrates. The human microbiome (or human microbiota) is the aggregate of microorganisms that reside on the surface and in deep layers of skin, in the saliva and oral mucosa, in the conjunctiva, and in the gastrointestinal tracts. They include bacteria, fungi, and archaea. Some of these organisms perform tasks that are useful for the human host. However, the majority have no known beneficial or harmful effect. Those that are expected to be present, and that under normal circumstances do not cause disease, but instead participate in maintaining health, are deemed members of the normal flora. Though widely known as "microflora", this is, in technical terms, a misnomer, since the word root "flora" pertains to plants, and biota refers to the total collection of organisms in a particular ecosystem. Recently, the more appropriate term "microbiota" is applied, though its use has not eclipsed the entrenched use and recognition of "flora" with regard to bacteria and other microorganisms. Both terms are being used in different literature. Studies in 2009 questioned whether the decline in biota (including microfauna) as a result of human intervention might impede human health
Importance in ecology Microbes are critical to the processes of decomposition required to cycle nitrogen and other elements back to the natural world. Decomposition (or rotting) is the process by which organic substances are broken down into simpler forms of matter. The process is essential for recycling the finite matter that occupies physical space in the biome. Bodies of living organisms begin to decompose shortly after death. Although no two organisms decompose in the same way, they all undergo the same sequential stages of decomposition. The science which studies decomposition is generally referred to as taphonomy from the Greek word taphos, meaning tomb. One can differentiate abiotic from biotic decomposition (biodegradation). The former means "degradation of a substance by chemical or physical processes, eg hydrolysis). The latter one means "the metabolic breakdown of materials into simpler components by living organisms", typically by microorganisms.
Hygiene Hygiene is the avoidance of infection or food spoiling by eliminating microorganisms from the surroundings. As microorganisms, in particular bacteria, are found virtually everywhere, the levels of harmful microorganisms can be reduced to acceptable levels. However, in some cases, it is required that an object or substance be completely sterile, i.e. devoid of all living entities and viruses. A good example of this is a hypodermic needle. In food preparation microorganisms are reduced by preservation methods (such as the addition of vinegar), clean utensils used in preparation, short storage periods, or by cool temperatures. If complete sterility is needed, the two most common methods are irradiation and the use of an autoclave, which resembles a pressure cooker.
There are several methods for investigating the level of hygiene in a sample of food, drinking water, equipment, etc. Water samples can be filtrated through an extremely fine filter. This filter is then placed in a nutrient medium. Microorganisms on the filter then grow to form a visible colony. Harmful microorganisms can be detected in food by placing a sample in a nutrient broth designed to enrich the organisms in question. Various methods, such as selective media or PCR, can then be used for detection. The hygiene of hard surfaces, such as cooking pots, can be tested by touching them with a solid piece of nutrient medium and then allowing the microorganisms to grow on it. There are no conditions where all microorganisms would grow, and therefore often several different methods are needed. For example, a food sample might be analyzed on three different nutrient mediums designed to indicate the presence of "total" bacteria (conditions where many, but not all, bacteria grow), molds (conditions where the growth of bacteria is prevented by, e.g., antibiotics) and coliform bacteria (these indicate a sewage contamination).