• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

'Bacteria. Friend or Foe?' Bacteria is something we are all reminded of on a daily basis by merely switching on our televisions where we are bombarded

Extracts from this document...


'Bacteria. Friend or Foe?' Bacteria is something we are all reminded of on a daily basis by merely switching on our televisions where we are bombarded with advertisements for both 'good' and 'bad' bacteria contrary to the view of the past when only so-called 'bad' bacteria was ever talked about, so what has changed? This essay will address the facts about bacteria including their ideal conditions for growth as well as looking at specific examples of how they can be both helpful and harmful to humans. So what are bacteria? In simple terms bacteria are microscopic, single-celled organisms lacking a nucleus and other organelles such as mitochondria and chloroplasts which are common place in eukaryotes. Bacteria are classified as prokaryotes and have been around for billions of years pre-dating dinosaurs never mind humans (1). Their minute size prevented them from being seen until 1683 when Antony van Leeuwenhoek invented a simple single-lens microscope though it wasn't until much later, 1828 in fact that the word bacterium was introduced by a man named Ehrenberg having been derived from a Greek word meaning 'small stick' (2). One thing that is clear is that bacteria are more often than not referred to as 'germs' which are best eliminated but how many people live happily and healthily without realising that they are carrying at least10,000 more bacteria than there are people on earth (3)? ...read more.


Bacteria have many talents which have enabled them to inhabit our sometimes inhospitable planet for much longer than any other organism not least of which is the almost unbelievable rate at which they can reproduce. Like every other living organism there are ideal conditions under which they perform best and as far as multiplication is concerned they require a nutrient supply, an energy source, water, a suitable temperature and pH level which is individual to each species, as well as oxygen, though some do grow better without it and are known as anaerobic as opposed to aerobic bacteria. Pneumonia caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae is an example of an illness caused by anaerobic bacteria where the bacteria inflame and infect the lungs and the bronchial tubes (6). Although aerobic bacteria are most commonly know for their ability to break down waste they too can cause infections, for example of the soft tissues by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus. Where conditions are favourable a single bacterium is capable of splitting into two every twenty minutes resulting in between 500 million and 1000 million bacteria being produced after only twelve minutes (7). This is surely a frightening statistic in the context of disease but from another view point, that of scientists culturing 'friendly' bacteria it is of major use especially in the field of probiotic drinks. ...read more.


it is hardly surprising that the average household is filled with bleaches and antibacterial agents as parents try to keep their children safe from illness. As we have seen bacteria can cause body odour, caries, strep throat and bubonic plague to name just a few from both ends of the spectrum however, they also have a lot of good characteristics which makes them more of a friend than a foe as far as humans are concerned. In short without bacteria we could not survive as we would have no way of digesting our food or producing vitamins nor would we be able to break down the worlds waste so we would in effect being living in the midst of a rubbish dump. Many of our foods such a yogurts, cheese and wine are all made from bacteria so without them our recipes would all be rather dull. The medical profession would be without antibiotics and the health conscience among us without probiotics. Their ability to live almost anywhere in the world is unrivalled and despite the best efforts of some to wipe them out they are here to stay. More diverse than mammals or insects they will continue to make a substantial amount of the world's biomass without which humans would not exist. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Living Things in their Environment section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Living Things in their Environment essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The effects of disinfectants and antibacterial soap on bacterial growth

    5 star(s)

    Another possibility would be to place a disc soaked in disinfectant in the center of the bacterial lawn, and look for a zone of inhibition [3]. These methods would both avoid the rather awkward necessity of pipetting solutions containing bacteria (either alive or dead)

  2. Marked by a teacher

    A2 Biology Coursework -Investigation into the effect of different concentrations of antibiotics on the ...

    4 star(s)

    Analysis Results Table Concentration of solution Colorimeter Readings Absorbance mode (Arbitrary Units) Experiment 1 Experiment 2 Experiment 3 Average 100.00% 0.02 0 0 0.01 90.00% 0.02 0 0 0.01 80.00% 0.02 0.02 0.02 0.02 70.00% 0.05 0.06 0.06 0.06 60.00% 0.05 0.05 0.07 0.06 50.00% 0.1 0.08 0.05 0.05 40.00%

  1. Investigation - Examination of bacterial sensitivity on antibiotics.

    It is occasionally pathogenic to man and can cause diseases in the intestinal tract. (v) They are aerobic. 2. Bacillus subtilis - The members of the genus bacillus are universally distributed in soil and water. They are not formed in animal body.

  2. Investigating the effect of four antibiotic agents on gram positive and gram negative bacteria.

    Penicillin is produced by the organism, Penicillium chrysogenum and it works by preventing the cross-linking of small peptide chains in peptidoglycan. Cells already existing are unaffected by the drug but all newly produced cells grow to be abnormal and so are unable to maintain their wall rigidity.

  1. Evolution, Natural selection and Darwinism

    700,000 years ago 300,000 years ago 100,000 years ago Modern Era <Ref.1 - p663> Language Oral communication is not unique to humans. Birds sing, bats 'chirp' and monkeys and apes chatter, grunt, and howl. Human alone have developed spoken and written languages which are used to communicate information not just

  2. Culturing Bacteria.

    to prevent condensation gathering on then lid and dropping onto the agar. The inoculating loop must then be placed in the flame again to re-sterilise. Certain methods are better for separating out individual colonies of bacterium. This is particular important when a mixture of different bacteria are present and one

  1. The comparison of bacterial content in a range of milks.

    Gloves are not required when handling this substance. * When using the glass apparatus, special care must be taken as these can break easily and cause injury Care must be taken at all times during the investigation due to a series of safety risks posed by the experiments.

  2. To find which Antibacterial Substance best Inhibits the Growth of Bacteria.

    I did this by mixing boiling water and agar powder together. Using aseptic techniques I poured this as evenly as possible into the agar plate. It was important that this was carried out aseptically, so that no bacteria is present before the agar plate will be used.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work