When we think of bacteria we usually think of something harmful that makes us sick. This is wrong. Most bacteria are not harmful and many bacteria are beneficial. We cannot live without them. There are the bacteria around us and inside us. These are the good bacteria.
Bacteria are among the oldest living things on the Earth. Bacteria have been around for about 4 billion years. This means that bacteria were the dominating life form on Earth for about 3.5 billion years.
Many scientists still believe that bacteria are still the dominant life form. It is estimated that there kg by kg there are more bacteria on the Earth than all other life forms combined. This includes trees and plants animals and humans, insects and fish.
There are bacteria all over the Earth. There are bacteria on land and in water. There are bacteria in the soil and deep underground. There are bacteria flying in the air. There are also bacteria in the food we eat. There are bacteria both on the outside and inside every animal, plant and tree. There are also bacteria on every living human being, both on the skin and in the guts. In short, life on Earth are embedded in bacterial life.
Most of these bacteria are good. Bacteria on the skin keep the skin healthy. Bacteria in the gut help digest the food. Bacteria in the soil help plants grow. Bacteria in the water help clean the water.
Bacteria are simple organisms that consist of one cell. They are among the smallest living things. Most bacteria measure from 0.3 to 2.0 microns in diameter and can only be seen through a microscope. (One micron equals 0.001 millimeter).
There are bacteria around that make us sick.These diseases include cholera, gonorrhea, leprosy, pneumonia, syphilis, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, and whooping cough. The bacteria enter a human being’s body through its natural openings, such as the nose or mouth, or through breaks in the skin. In addition, air, food, and water carry bacteria from one person to another.
Certain kinds of bacteria live in the intestines of human beings and other animals. These bacteria help in digestion and in destroying harmful organisms. Intestinal bacteria also produce some vitamins needed by the body. There are also bacteria on the skin. Many of these bacteria keep the skin healthy and protect us against fungus infections.
When we get sick and take penicillin, we kill the bacteria that make us sick. That is good. But we also kill the bacteria that keep us healthy. That is not good. This is the reason why we sometimes get upset stomach when we get penicillin.
Bacteria keeps the water clean. In the summer, when the sun shines, the still water like this will turn “green”. The green color comes from cyan bacteria, also called blue-green algae.
Bacteria in soil and water play a vital role in recycling carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, and other chemical elements used by living things. Many bacteria help decompose (break down) dead organisms and animal wastes into chemical elements. Other bacteria help change chemical elements into forms that can be used by plants and animals. For example, certain kinds of bacteria convert nitrogen in the air and soil into nitrogen compounds that can be used by plants. This means that soil is alive. In good soil unharmed by destructive farming, as much as 25% of the weight consists of bacteria.
We will have to remember that bacteria are living things. The farmer fertilizes the soil with ammonia. He does that to make the crop grow better. It does, because the plants need ammonia to grow. What is forgotten in the process is that the bacteria in the soil are also killed. The ammonia kills them. The very ammonia the farmer applies to the soil to make the plants grow kills many of the bacteria that make ammonia for the plants. In this way the soil slowly dies.
Bacteria are living things. They are alive like us. The same things that poison bacteria are also poisonous to human beings. We are all alike. We are all part of life on this planet. We are all living together. Together we make this planet alive.
LIST OF GOOD BACTERIA
Probiotics— often called “friendly” or “good” bacteria– are live, lactic-acid producing microorganisms that are similar to those found in the human digestive tract. These beneficial bacteria are associated with numerous health benefits. They are also widely used in clinical nutrition and complementary alternative medicine. Experts at the National Institutes of Health note that probiotics show some promise in the treatment of diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, vaginal infections, tooth decay and skin disease.
Probiotics are found in commercial supplements, as well as fermented foods like tempeh, miso and yogurt. The majority of probiotic microbes are members of the Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium genera, and many species, sub-species and strains exist within these two categories. Additionally, some food manufacturers use patented or proprietary strains that are unavailable through other sources.
L. acidophilus is one of the most common and versatile probiotics on the market. It is frequently used in yogurt cultures and hundreds of subspecies and strains have been developed. According to the National Institutes of Health, L. acidophilus’ most reliable use is in the treatment of bacterial vaginosis.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus shows some medicinal effects similar to its relative, L. acidophilus, but it is more expensive and has not been subjected to the same amount of study. The “Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology” notes that it “has proven beneficial affects on intestinal immunity.”
Once erroneously classified in the Lactobacillus genus, B. coagulans is relatively rare on the supplement market. Unlike Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species, B. coagulans has never been used in commercial foods.
B. animalis is famed for its ability to improve digestive regularity. It is frequently used for people with irritable bowel syndrome or chronic constipation. One subspecies of B. animalis is used by the yogurt manufacturer Dannon, which markets strain under the patented name “Bifidus regularis.”
While E. coli is rarely considered to be a “good” species of bacteria, some nonpathogenic strains actually hold therapeutic value. One Japanese study, published in 2005 by the journal “Inflammatory Bowel Disease,” found that friendly strains of E. coli can actually prevent and treat ulcerative colitis.
L. lactis has only limited medicinal value compared to other probiotic species, but it offers extensive commercial and culinary value. Almost all forms of cheese and buttermilk are manufactured using appropriate strains of L. lactis.
Sometimes called the universal probiotic, L. reuteri is found in the colons of most animals, where it can fight pathogenic bacteria. L. reuteri is found in human breast milk and may be responsible for some of the immunosupportive and anti-gas effects associated with breastfeeding.
LIST OF BAD BACTERIA
Bacteria are microscopic organisms that live in the air, soil and water, on surfaces, and in and on the human body. They are the smallest free-living organisms, meaning they support their own growth and reproduction. These organisms are only about two-thousandth of a millimeter in size. Most bacteria are harmless and, in fact, perform useful functions. Many of the bacteria in the body protect against the harmful effects of other organisms. When they enter internal tissues, however, bacteria can cause disease, discomfort and even death.
Clostridia live harmlessly in soil and the intestines of humans and animals. Some types can infect wounds or cause illness. Clostridium perfringens causes gas gangrene or tissue death. Clostridium difficile can cause antibiotic-induced diarrhea. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Clostridium is associated with gas gangrene and colitis caused by antibiotics.
Streptococcus pyogenes causes strep throat and many other infections and is a major cause of pneumonia and meningitis. According to Merck Manual of Medical Information, Streptococcus and Clostridia can cause necrotizing skin infections, or infections that cause tissue death, though a combination of bacterial strains may also be to blame for these infections.
Staphylococci can cause skin infections, such as boils, pustules and abscesses and infections in bones, joints and wounds. Staphylococcus epidermidis normally lives harmlessly on the skin. If it enters artificial joints or heart valves during surgery, however, it can cause dangerous infections. According to the Cleveland Clinic, Staphylococcus aureus and less-frequently, Staphylococcus pyogenes, cause impetigo, a superficial, extremely contagious skin infection.
Listeria and Bacilli
If Listeria monocytogenes infects a pregnant woman, the fetus or newborn may be affected. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Listeria and Bacilli have infected people who have eaten contaminated cheese and cold cooked meats.
Bacilli can be found in soil and water; animals and insects are most often the carriers. Bacillus cereus can cause food poisoning. Bacillus anthracis causes anthrax, which can cause open sores on the skin.
There are several species of Legionella bacteria. Legionella pneumophila causes Legionnaires’ disease, an often life-threatening form of pneumonia. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, these bacteria live and thrive in warm, moist environments such as large air conditioning systems.
- Organic food saves bowel bacteria (bigpondnews.com)
- Bacteria of Intestinal Tract, view in year 1915 (biomysteries.wordpress.com)
- Water World: Unexpected interaction between ocean currents and bacteria (oceansspirit.wordpress.com)
- “Study Explains Stability of Our Ecosystem Within” (utsandiego.com)
- The Nitrogen Cycle (ellemedit1234.wordpress.com)
- Deep Life (psychologytoday.com)
- Gut bacteria ‘may be obesity weapon’ (bbc.co.uk)
- How do bacteria communicate? (utkarshprateekblog.wordpress.com)