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MICROBES - In health and Disease

Microbes

-         In Health and Disease

 

What are Microbes/Microorganisms  ?

 

Using a self-designed single-lens microscope, the Dutch merchant / amateur scientist Anton van Leeuwenhoek (1632–1723) first observed microorganisms, which he called “ANIMALCULES”

 

      Microorganisms are microscopic organisms – which can be either:

 

         A single cell

         Cell clusters

         Multicellular, more complex organisms

 

      Microorganisms belong to diverse groups – including:

 

         Prokaryotes  (Organisms whose cells lack a membrane-bound nucleus)

 

·   Bacteria single celled

·   Archaea (Not considered pathogens or parasites)

 

         Eukaryotes (Organisms whose cells contain a nucleus and other structures (organelles) enclosed within membranes)

 

·   Protozoa                          e.g. Giarda lamblia, Amoeba proteus, Cryptosporidium spp.

·   Fungi                                 e.g. Candida Albicans

·   Algae                                 e.g. seaweed

·   Microscopic plants (blue/green algae)  contain chlorophyll, enabling them to make their own food from light and carbon dioxide; e.g. chlorella, spirulina;

·   Micro-animals                 e.g. dust and spider mites,  rotifers, planarians

 

      Microbes live in all ecosystems (the biosphere) and perform many essential functions:

 

         Decomposers

 

         Fix Nitrogen – separate the nitrogen atoms in nitrogen gas, making them available for many life essential processes (E.g. in DNA and proteins)

 

         Fermentation

 

·         Convert sugars into alcohol in beer/wine

·         Convert sugar into lactic acid - for food preservation (sauerkraut, yogurt), leavening (produces Carbon dioxide) or food pickling (producing acetic acid), or eliminating antinutrients

 

         Natural body flora - keeps pathogenic  microbes in balance

 

         Biotechnology / Medicine – E.g. antibiotics

 

 

Some microorganisms can cause pathogenic disease

 

      Pathogenic Disease occurs when a germ/infectious agent (i.e. Pathogenic Bacteria, Virus, Fungi/Yeast or protozoa) causes disease or illness to its host - Such a germ is called a pathogen.

 

-       Some bacteria which are a normal part of the body’s flora, can become pathogenic - if their numbers get out of control or they move to and multiply in an area where they are not supposed to be

 

-       Pathogens can infect the body by various transmission routes – affected by the widely varying length of survival of the microorganism outside of the body: 

 

         Droplet contact - coughing or sneezing on another person

 

         Direct physical contact - touching an infected person, including sexual contact

 

         Indirect contact - usually by touching contaminated soil or a contaminated surface

 

         Airborne transmission - if the microorganism can remain in the air for long periods

 

         Fecal-oral transmission - usually from contaminated food or water sources

 

         Vector borne transmission - carried by insects or other animals

 

      For more on the role of microbes in disease:

 

Bacteria

Viruses

Fungi

Protozoa

MICROBES Links

 

MICROBES Related Links

Bacteria

- Spirochetes

Viruses

Parasites - "Uninvited Guests"

-  Parasite Cleanses

Fungi