Human and Microorganisms Essay

1 January 2017

They occur in everyday life, everyday without fail. We use them for little things like inside to food production. However they are the root of some very unpleasant conditions like cholera and tuberculosis. To begin with, nearly every human being with consume food that has been produced using microbes or its self is a microorganism. Mushrooms are a good example of this as they are fungi which are eaten across the globe. You do need to be careful when eating these though as some mushrooms cant be eaten without causing damage to your health.

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Another use of fungi is to make mycoprotein which is becoming bigger and bigger in the food market. The most famous make of it is called Quorn. It has become so big as theoretically it is better for you than meat. It has more protein per gram the most meat and has much less saturated fat. This is more relevant this day and age because people are becoming more concerned with their health as it has be highlighted as very important, more so than it used to be as more and more people are suffering from heart diseases as a result of fatty deposits building up.

Staying on the topic of food, the process of fermentation requires the use of bacteria which is a microbe. A big example of this is the production of bread which uses yeast to make the bread rise. This works as it is aerobic respiration so gives off carbon dioxide, making the bread rise. Another use of yeast is in anaerobic respiration which can ferment to create ethanol. This is then distilled through a process and creates alcohol which is one of the top grossing markets in the whole world. On a cellular level, fermentation is a way of obtaining energy without using oxygen.

Fermentation involves the breaking down of complex organic substances into simpler ones. Food like cheese, pickles, olives, sausages, chocolate, bread, wine, beer and soy sauce are all made with the help of different types of bacteria and yeast. In most of these food products, bacteria play a major role because they produce lactic acid. When we eat food, it obviously has to be digested and microbes play a part in this as well. Billions of bacteria live in the human digestive system. They form over a kilogram of our body weight. These bacteria are referred to as microflora, or gut flora.

These bacteria break down food remains that have not been digested earlier in the digestive system. They stop harmful bacteria and fungus from invading the body. The gut flora also produces vitamin K, which is essential for normal blood clotting. Human microfilaria consists of 400 different species of bacteria. Some of these are beneficial and others are potentially harmful. A balance between the two is vital for human health and wellbeing. One way of maintaining a balance between the beneficial and harmful bacteria in our intestines is to eat the types of food that contain beneficial bacteria.

Beneficial bacteria that can be introduced into the digestive system through food are called probiotics. Most commercially-promoted fermented milk products with probiotic properties contain Lactobacillus bacteria or Bifidobacteria. Natural yogurts and Yakult, a fermented milk product, are examples of foods which contain probiotics. There is a more nasty side to microorganisms as well. They are the root cause of some very nasty conditions. For example Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by rod shaped bacterium called Vibrio cholerae leading to intestinal infection and diarrhea.

The infection is often mild and self-limited, but severe cases lead to rapid dehydration and death if untreated. People with severe cases respond to simple fluid-and electrolyte-replacement therapy. Infection happens by ingesting contaminated water or food. Cholera exists in many parts of the world, including Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa and South America. Another nasty disease that can occur because of bacteria is tuberculosis. Tuberculosis is an infectious bacterial disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which most commonly affects the lungs.

It is transmitted from person to person via droplets from the throat and lungs of people with the active respiratory disease. In healthy people, infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis often causes no symptoms, since the person’s immune system fights against the bacteria. The symptoms of active TB of the lung are coughing, sometimes producing blood, chest pains, weakness, weight loss, fever and night sweats. Tuberculosis is treatable with a six-month course of antibiotics. Some of these diseases can be treated using antibiotics and without microbes these antibiotics would not exist.

Antibiotics are produced by fungi and bacteria. The name antibiotics means ‘against life’. It is appropriate, because they attack bacteria and other unicellular organisms that are pathogenic for humans. Most antibiotics used today were found originally in fungi. Fungi are saprophytes, meaning that they get their nourishment from dead animals or plant matter. As you can see microorganisms affect humans massively and will always be part of life. They are the root cause of a lot of suffering but without them, life as we know it would not be the same.

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