Versatility is adapting easily to different tasks or having numerous uses or abilities. This is exhibited by microbes. Microbes are very important in our world today because they cause diseases, But there are many other applications of microbes that are beneficial.
Some bacteria degrade plants and animals to small molecules, which serve as nutrients necessary to sustain growth of all Living organisms. Some aid humans in digestion of foods, while other bacteria can take nitrogen gas from the air and convert (fix) it into the form of nitrogen fertilizer required for plant growth. Without these nitrogen - fixing bacteria, life as we know wouldn't exist. Very useful yeasts and bacteria have been utilized in food processing such as bread and other fermented foods like beer, yoghurt, cheese, buttermilk, what we called "ogi" in our language but pap in English, and fufu made from cassava and others.
A number of useful microbes have played significant roles in medicine, being used to produce antibiotics for the treatment of various diseases and vaccine for preventing deadly infectious diseases. Other biotechnological applications of microorganisms include:
• production of interferon, insulin, human growth hormone, blood clotting factors and enzymes that dissolve blood clots and thick mucus in cystic fibrosis patients.
• production of vaccines against rabies, gonorrhea, herpes, leprosy, hepatitis etc.
• Synthesis by bacteria of a variety of different compounds that can be used in various ways example:
. cellulose used in stereo headsets, hydroxybutyric acid, used to produce disposable diapers which are biodegradable, and ethanol used in gasoline to reduce smog.
• Banana genetically engineered by a bacterium may be used as a vaccine to prevent certain diarrhea diseases in children.
Microbes in the Industry
Microorganisms have provided many industrial products that have profoundly changed our lives and life span. These include industrial and agricultural products. Food additives, products for human and animal health and biofuels.
The baker’s yeast that is used to make bread, is also used to ferment malted cereals and fruit juices to make beverages such as beer, whiskey, wine, brandy etc. The raw material used and the type of processing (distillation or no distillation) gives rise to different alcoholic drinks. For example, processing without distillation produces wine and beer, whereas distillation of fermented broth produces whisky and brandy.
source Toppr biology.
**Medical Application **
=> Antibiotics :Antibiotics and other natural products used in medicine and health have made major contributions to improve the well-being of animal and human populations. Many antibiotics are produced by microorganisms, predominantly by actinomycetes, filamentous fungi and few bacteria.
These include Streptomyces species, Penicillium chrysogenium, Penicillium griseofulvum, Aspergillus fumigatus, Cephalosporium acremonium, Bacillus polymyxa, Bacillus licheniformis etc.
=> Amino Acids: Normally microorganisms avoid over production of biochemical intermediates by the careful regulation of cellular metabolism. Therefore, amino acid production by microorganisms is typically carried out by means of regulatory mutants. Metabolic engineering constantly improves productivities of amino acid by producing strains, mainly Corynebacterium glutamicum and Escherichia coli. Amino acids produced by this means include lysine and glutamic acid which are used in food industry as nutritional supplements in cereals and bread products. And also as flavor enhancing compounds.
=> Organic Acids: Citric, acetic, lactic, fumaric and gluconic acids are the major products from microorganisms. Before the development of microbial processes, the major source of citric acid was citrus fruit. Today, most Citric acid is produced by microbial fermentation processes. It is known that about 70% Citric acid is used in the food and beverage industry, 20% in pharmaceutical industry and the rest in other industrial applications. Gluconic acid is used as a carrier for calcium and iron and as a component of detergents. Both acids are produced by Aspergillus awamori.
Source journal flyer.
Using pesticides and insecticides not only kills harmful pests but also gets rid of beneficial life forms. Therefore, farmers are now turning to the use of biological methods to control pests and plant diseases. This use of biological methods is ‘Biocontrol’. An example of a microbial biocontrol agent is the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis that is toxic to butterfly caterpillars but does not harm other insects.
From the information provided above, you can now see that microbes play an important role in our daily life and even in the Industry. They have economy importance that we can not do without them, they cause diseases and play role in our society.
Thank you for your time once again.
Dezan, A. P. C, Vasconcellos, V. M, Lacava, P. T and Farinas, C. S(2017). Microbial production of organic acids by endophytic fungi. Biocatalysis and Agricultural technology.
Nester, E. W, Robert, C. E, pearsall, N. N, Anderson, D. G and Nester, M. T (1998). Microbiology: A Human perspective 2nd edition McGraw - Hill, USA.
WWW.nlm.nih.gov>recombinant - DNA