What are Microorganisms?
“Microorganisms are minute organisms that are invisible to the naked eye.”
Microorganisms are so small that they can only be seen under a microscope. These include a huge range of organisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, algae, protozoa, etc. These microbes can be beneficial as well as harmful in many ways.
The air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, the floor where we stand, everything around us is inhabited by some or the other type of microorganism. They are even present inside our body.
Few microorganisms can also withstand extreme conditions like a place as hot as boiling water, or a place as cold as ice. Some microorganisms are found alone, while the others are found in colonies.
Let us have an overview of useful and harmful microorganisms.
Types of Microorganisms
Microorganisms can either be beneficial and are helpful in human welfare, while others are disease-causing and toxic enough to make us ill. The different types of microorganisms include:
These form a significant part of the ecosystem and participate in the production of minerals and gases like oxygen, carbon dioxide.
They also feed on the dead and decaying matter by converting the complex compounds into the simpler ones.
The bio-geochemical cycle, such as the nitrogen cycle is an important example of useful microorganisms.
Microorganisms are used in various industries for the production of various metabolites such as ethanol, riboflavin, lactic acid, and butanol.
Also Read: Useful Microorganisms
There are a number of microorganisms that are responsible for food spoilage, diseases and infections. Such microorganisms are known as harmful microorganisms.
Bacteria are the most dangerous of all microorganisms and are responsible for several infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, cholera, diptheria, etc. Viruses are also responsible for certain fatal diseases such as AIDS, influenza, etc. Fungi are also harmful and can lead to certain skin infections and allergies.
Thus, we know that microorganisms can be useful as well as harmful.
Also Read: Microbes
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