How Are Microbes Harmful?

Microbes are ubiquitous. They dwell in extreme climatic conditions hence can be harmful as they are capable to adapt to such harsh environmental conditions. Microbes have an innate ability to multiply rapidly. This property makes it inefficient for us to track them and take suitable measures to curb their activity. While some microbes can be beneficial (brewing industries, baking industries), some other microbes have the potential to cause life-threatening diseases. From minor effects such as inflammation, allergy to severe disorders, microbes can be dangerous.

Microbes have the potential to cause an infection, destroy the host cell completely and proceed to the next host while still dividing continuously, hence they are capable of completely knocking down the 1st and 2nd line of the defence mechanism of the host. Many microbes such as a few bacteria are antibiotic-resistant hence pose a great level of threat to the immune system against these bacteria and viruses.

Bacteria and fungi are food-perishing agents. They spoil food as it contains a lot of moisture and nutrients which are favourable conditions for the growth of microbes. This food when consumed causes food poisoning, which leads to loss of essential fluids from the body, nausea, diarrhoea and other associated forms of illness. In agriculture, microbes play a major role, however, some microbes are known to cause plant diseases, which can be contagious and extremely dangerous if consumed by living entities.

Fungi – A Harmful Microbe

Fungi are microbes that are eukaryotic entities such as mould, yeasts. A fungal species belonging to the genera of the Fusarium, Aspergillus, Mucor, Alternaria are deemed to be pathogenic groups of species to humans. This group of fungi is assumed to be threatening to both the health of stable immunocompromised individuals and agricultural production. These group of new fungi can incur tremendous economic losses to agriculture, inadequate food for consumption and severe lethal diseases in both animals and humans. Some plants, however, have developed infection-resistant properties and hence plants can be used as a great source of antifungal compounds to nullify their harmful effects. Some fungal diseases are:

  • Aspergillosis
  • Candidiasis
  • Blastomycosis
  • Candida auris
  • C.gattii infection
  • Valley fever
  • Histoplasmosis
  • Mucormycosis
  • Ringworm
  • Talaromycosis

Take This Quiz

Q.1. Can you name one antibiotic-resistant bacteria?
A.1. Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Q.2. Name a plant disease caused by fungi.
A.2. Fusarium wilt

For more on microbes – types and the diseases that can be caused by them, please register at BYJU’S.

Further Reading:

Articles that might interest you:

  1. Do bacteria reproduce sexually or asexually?
  2. Are Microbes good?
  3. Why is the ecosystem important?
  4. Are we not lucky that plants reproduce sexually?
  5. Can a bacterial cell survive without a plasmid DNA?
  6. How are species and populations related?

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