Biology Qs Microbes Exist All Around Us Thesis

Pages: 5 (1525 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Disease

Biology Qs

Microbes exist all around us, and despite our rampant use of antibacterial sap most of them are actually still willing to help us out in a variety of ways. Certain bacteria like E. coli and other microorganisms in our intestines are essential to our digestion, helping to break down the food we eat so we can process it. There are also other food benefits performed by microbes; yeast is necessary for bread and the various species of Lactobacillus are used to ferment foods like yogurt, cheese, and of course, beer. Certain bacteria, like the Thermus aquaticus, also produce enzymes that are essential to cell functions, and can also be cultured in laboratories to collect large samples of certain enzymes for use in scientific and medical research. One of the most essential tasks performed by many microbes is the conversion of animal and plant waste to material that is again useful to the larger organisms on this planet. Acinetobacter bacteria are especially essential in this regard; these organisms greatly reduce pollution via aromatic compounds.

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The Five Kingdom classification system of life, which divided organisms into Animal, Plant, Fungi, Protists, and Prokaryotes, was based largely on physiological and morphological evidence. Relationships in physical appearance, motility, and energy production were the primary bases of classification. More recent molecular analysis, however, has suggested a taxonomic system based on observed evolutionary patterns that more accurately divides life into three domains -- Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukaryots. The division between the domains, and the subsequent rearranging of certain kingdoms, is based on differences in DNA structure that suggest actual genealogical relationships and timelines for all life, revealing certain differences that had heretofore gone unnoticed.

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Thesis on Biology Qs Microbes Exist All Around Us, Assignment

Though Galileo was in fact "borrowing" his design of the microscope -- like that of his telescope -- from others, his was the first instrument dubbed a microscope and his use of the device certainly popularized its prevalence in scientific inquiry. Essentially, microscopes work like any other optical tool; incoming waves of light are distorted by lenses and/or mirrors to create other images. In a microscope, the lights is bent so that the waves are spread further out by the time they reach the observer's eye, making the image appear larger. Anton van Leeuwenhoek improved lens grinding techniques and was able to observe things in more minute detail; this process of improvement continued for centuries without a major change in design. Light microscopes are limited in detail by the wavelength of light, but electron microscopes -- invented by Max Knoll and Enrst Ruska in 1931 -- uses sped-up electrons with much shorter wavelengths than white light to create images on electron-sensitive photographic plates. This allows scientists to "see" images of individual molecules and, in some cases even atoms, which has led to many remarkable discoveries in several branches of science.

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First, the sample would be diluted and brought to a state of homogeneity, then swabs of the sample would be placed on various growth media for inoculation. These samples would ten be incubated for a certain period, then inspected for growth of bacteria cultures. Many strains of bacteria would be expected, and samples from mixed-culture plates would be taken and further inoculated and incubated to isolate each culture and type of bacteria. Inspection of the individual cultures via microscope should lead to the identification of the different types of bacteria based on the arrangement and growth rate of the culture/responsiveness to certain growth media, as well as the cell shape of the bacteria themselves.

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Though most bacteria and other microorganisms are harmless or even beneficial to humans, some can cause disease or infection. These are known as pathogens, which literally means "give birth to suffering," and that is exactly what they do. Adverse symptoms, when they occur, are generally caused by a bacteria's use of resources and/or its waste products, but there several physical features that can increase pathogenicity. Some bacteria have flagellum, long tails that help them move and may help them attach and cling to human cell. Others contain endospores within their cytoplasm, which act like a hard seed covering and allow bacteria to live in adverse environments, again increasing the chance of infection. The outer capsule that many bacteria possess also protects them, and contains a group of antigens that almost always cause an adverse reaction in the host. Gram-negative bacteria have a lipid a structure attached to their outer membrane that also greatly increases toxicity.

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Gram positive bacteria have relatively simple cell walls consisting of an outer layer called the peptidoglycan layer that acts as a protective and adhesive coating and a plasma membrane, which contains the organelles of the bacteria. The space between these two layers is called the periplasmic space. Gram negative cell walls include these features as well, but have an outer membrane surrounding the peptidoglycan layer. This membrane consists of lipopolysacharide and proteins, which allows them to embed themselves in organic matter more easily. The Gram stain interacts differently with the different thicknesses of peptidoglycan, turning purple for Gram positive bacteria and pink for negative.

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The theory of endosymbiosis posits that mitochondria and certain plastids present in plants began as simple and independent prokaryotic organisms that were taken in by more complex organisms in a symbiotic function that eventually developed into their full incorporation as a part (organelle) of the complex organisms. This supports the concept of evolution by natural selection as it explains how some organisms gained an early advantage, and accounts for the slow development of advanced organs without relying wholly on chance. Evidence for this theory includes the fact that mitochondria and plastids reproduce through binary fission, unlike most other organic organelles but similar to many prokaryotes. The structure of their membranes also resembles prokaryotes more than other organelles, as does the DNA found in these organelles, which is different from what is found in the other parts of the cell and in the body/plant in general. There are also other physiological and chemical factors that suggest the likelihood of this theory.

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One of the primary targets for an antibacterial drug should be the peptiodoglycan, which is essential to bacteria for retaining its shape and protecting the organelles within the cytoplasm, and which is not present in human cells. The plasmids that can cause antibiotic resistance would be a good target for obvious reasons, and are also not found in human cells. The lack of a nucleus and nuclear membrane in bacteria makes there DNA more susceptible to disruptions, if a cell-wall permeable disruptive agent could be developed. Also, certain infections could be fought with drugs that attack the unique proteins in bacterial flagella, breaking down a bacteria's potential for motility and attachment. As this drug would be developed specifically to target features of bacterial cells, it would likely be ineffective against fungal infections such as those caused by dermatophytes.

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Malaria has two primary life cycles in two different hosts. The parasite multiples first in the human liver, then invades red blood cells where it continue to multiply until the cell bursts. The released daughter cells invade new red blood cells and continue the infection, also causing symptoms of malaria. These can include fever, chills, nausea, aches, and even anemia, kidney failure, and eventually death. When a female from a certain genus of mosquito takes blood from an infected host, the parasites taken up begin a new life cycle in the mosquito and reside in the mosquito's salivary glands until being injected into a new human host, starting the cycle again. Malaria was eradicated in the U.S. through drainage of breeding pools and heavy insecticide (DDT) spraying, which required a large political and financial investment. These measures are not feasible for many African governments, but the increased use of bed nets and… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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