Microbes are small, minute organisms, which cannot be seen through our naked eye. They can be viewed or examine only under the microscope. Hence they are also called as the microorganisms or microscopic organisms.
These microscopic organisms are grouped in the third domain of classification as it includes unicellular and multicellular organisms. Microbes are found everywhere around us – in water, air, food, and even on the surface of our body. Our environment is incomplete without these microbes, as some play an essential role in maintaining and existence of life on the planet earth.
Types of Microbes
There are five different types of microbes. All these microbes vary in their size, shape, habitat, metabolism and other characteristics.
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- Algae — They are free-living, eukaryotic, membrane-bound microbes which contain photosynthetic pigments and are capable of preparing their food.
- Bacteria–They are prokaryotic, unicellular microorganisms, which lack a true nucleus and other membrane-bound cell organelles. They were the first organisms that appeared and lived on Earth.
- Fungi— They are eukaryotic, unicellular organisms with true nuclei and nucleus and other membrane-bound cell organelles. Fungi are important decomposers in the ecosystem as they feed on dead and decaying organic matter.
- Viruses — They are tiny, non-cellular microorganisms, which lack cellular structure. Viruses are considered as both living and nonliving organisms, as they are active within the host cells and inactive when they are present outside. They are major causes of infectious disease.
- Protozoa — They are free-living, single-celled or multi-cellular and membrane-bound microorganisms, which are usually found in freshwater and marine environments. They generally feed on dead and decaying matter. These microorganisms have different modes of nutrition. This was a brief introduction to microbes and their types.
Uses Of Microorganisms
The following are the uses of different types of microorganisms.
|Type of Microbe||Use|
|Bacteria||Bacteria bring about fermentation that helps to make different dairy products such as curd, cheese, butter, cottage cheese. A genus of Streptococcus helps in achieving this.|
|Algae||It can be used to make vegetable oil, as an energy source, to create biofuel and is a good food supplement|
|Fungi||Widespread use of fungi, yeast in alcohol production. Rhizopus, Acetobacter, Penicillium are few fungi that are used to produce organic acids|
|Virus||It is used in the pest control reagent, in gene therapy, in agriculture, in medical filed.|
|Protozoa||They bring about the fertility of the soil and are also used in wastewater management.|
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