Are BACTERIA LIVING OR NOT? - Find out everything!

Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!

Thanks to microbiology, the knowledge of the different structures and composition of bacteria, as well as determining whether the bacteria are unicellular or multicellular, It has made it possible to better understand the relationships that bacteria have with the different organisms on the planet. Thus, the advancement of the science of microbiology together with medicine, have allowed the understanding and application of different mechanisms of action for the elaboration of antibiotics that allow to kill those bacteria that are harmful to both humans and the rest of animals and also for plant crops.

If you want to know the answer to the curious question: Are bacteria living beings?Continue reading this Green Ecologist article in which you will find all the information you need to learn more about these mysterious microorganisms.

Are bacteria living beings or not?

Despite being invisible to the human eye and having structures and functions different from those of eukaryotic cells and multicellular organisms, science DOES recognize bacteria as living things. In fact, they are one of the most primitive groups of living beings, that is, they appeared at the beginning of the beginning of life on Earth.

What are bacteria - definition

Bacteria are single-celled microorganisms, consisting of a single cell of the prokaryotic type (from the Greek "pro", primitive and "karyotic", nucleus). The vast majority of bacteria are free-living, except those that are obligate intracellular. However, all of them have mechanisms that produce energy and genetic material, both necessary for their growth and development.

In the next section we will see more characteristics of these amazing microorganisms to learn how to differentiate them from other types of microorganisms and living beings. In addition, we recommend you read this other article by Green Ecologist about the Difference between viruses and bacteria.

Bacteria characteristics

As we have already seen in the previous section, bacteria are prokaryotic single-celled microorganisms but what other characteristics of bacteria We can observe?

  • In their cellular structure they lack intracellular compartments delimited by membranes, and their DNA is always circular and closed.
  • They have a strong cell wall that allows them to survive in extreme environmental conditions. Fimbriae, pilis or flagella appear on this wall, which bacteria use to communicate with each other, as well as to perceive chemical information from their environment, or even to move inside watery environments.
  • The reproduction of bacteria is always asexual, and it is carried out by a simple division method known as binary fission (as opposed to the mitosis division process used by eukaryotic cells). Thus, during binary fission, the cell that constitutes the bacterium grows and forms an intracellular protein septum, which will allow the formation of two daughter cells, which contain an identical duplicate of the genome of the stem cell.
  • Most bacteria multiply rapidly, forming colonies of bacteria in a few hours, provided they have a temperature and atmosphere that favors their development.

The variety of bacteria families that exist in nature is really extensive and varied. In the next section we will see what types of bacteria exist and how we can group them.

Types of bacteria

By observing bacteria with different chemical colorations under the light microscope, it is possible to identify their structures and shapes. In this way, it is possible classify the types of bacteria as follows:

  • Spirilos (spiral).
  • Cocci (spherical or oval).
  • Bacilli (cylindrical or rod-shaped; straight or curved).

On the other hand, it is possible to differentiate two large groups of bacteria according to the environment in which they live and the absence / presence of peptidoglycan in their cell walls:

  • Archaebacteria: They lack peptidoglycan and live in anaerobic and acidic environments with high temperatures, such as the deep sea.
  • Eubacteria: They have peptidoglycan in their cell wall. They live freely in multiple environments such as soil and water; but also inside living organisms. This group includes bacteria of medical interest, photosynthetic green and purple bacteria, as well as cyanobacteria.

Examples of names of bacteria and diseases they cause

To get a closer look at some of the most abundant and well-known bacteria, let's look at some of the names of bacteria and the diseases they cause:

  • Botulism: Clostridium botulinum
  • Diphtheria: Corynebacterium diphtheriae
  • Anger: Vibrio cholerae
  • Gastritis: Helicobacter pylori
  • Gonorrhea: Neisseria gonorrhoeae
  • Leprosy: Mycobacterium leprae
  • Meningitis: Neisseria meningitidis
  • Pneumonia: Staphylococcus aureus
  • Plague: Yersinia pestis
  • Salmonella: Escherichia coli
  • Tetanus: Clostridium tetani
  • Whooping cough: Bordetella pertussis
  • Tuberculosis: Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Are bacteria good or bad?

Despite all the disease-causing bacteria that we have seen in the previous section, there are also a large number of species of bacteria that create symbiosis and positive relationships with living beings. Learn more about What is symbiosis in ecology and biology with examples here.

Therefore, we can affirm that bacteria are living beings and good and bad microorganisms, according to the species of bacteria and its relationship with one or another living organism. Thus, within the beneficial symbiotic relationships in which some bacteria participate, we can highlight:

  • The bacterial flora present in the digestive system of humans and other animals such as ruminants.
  • Nodulating nitrogen-fixing bacteria that live in the root nodules of legume plants.
  • Bacteria from probiotics frequently used as supplements in the diet.
  • Bacteria that live in association with algae for the decontamination of waters and in the decomposition of bioplastics.

If you want to learn more about bacteria, you can also read this other article about the Monera Kingdom: what it is, characteristics, classification and examples, since bacteria and other living beings belong to this kingdom of nature.

If you want to read more articles similar to Are bacteria living things?, we recommend that you enter our Biology category.

  • Pérez, M. & Mota, M. (2000) Morphology and bacterial structure. Journal Topics of Bacteriology and Medical Virology. Volume 23.
  • Reig, A. L. & Blanco, J. (2002) Prebiotics and probiotics, a beneficial relationship. Cuban Journal of Food and Nutrition, Institute of Nutrition and Food Hygiene. Volume 16 (1), pp: 8-63.
You will help the development of the site, sharing the page with your friends
This page in other languages: