The Benefits of Microorganisms For the human being are multiple. From applications in the food industry, to the processes of solid waste degradation or the development of vaccines and medical advances.
Microbes or microorganisms are small microscopic entities that can be classified into different groups, such as bacteria, fungi, protozoa, microalgae and viruses. They live on soil, water, food and the intestines of animals, among other means.
Humans have used microorganisms in different industries, such as food or agriculture, where fermented beer , Yogurt and cheese, or microorganisms can be used to release nitrogen from the soil that plants need to grow.
Not all microorganisms are beneficial to human life, there are some organisms that limit the production of food or stay in animals and plants causing diseases (Todar, 2008).
In the human body, different microorganisms are responsible for contributing to different processes, such as digestion and defense of other invasive organisms in a complex process that is reflected in the natural course of a disease.
Microorganisms are beneficial in different industries and contribute to multiple biological processes taking place within the human body.
List of benefits of microorganisms for humans
1- Food Industry
Microorganisms are used in the production of fermented foods and beverages. Fungi like yeast or bacteria like Lactobacilli Are essential in the food industry (Lasztity, 1996).
The fermentation process leading to the production of alcoholic beverages or acid based dairy products takes place when microorganisms get energy from food cells without having to take oxygen. In other words, the fermentation process allows the decomposition of complex organic substances.
Foods like cheese, olives, sausages, chocolate, bread, wine, beer and soy sauce are made with the help of different types of bacteria and yeasts.
In most of these products, bacteria play a key role. They are in charge of producing lactic acid , A substance that allows the preservation of food (Prabhu, 2016).
Medicine and Science
Microorganisms also have significant potential in the field of medicine and science. They are generally used industrially for the production of antibiotics, vaccines and insulin. As well as to make the diagnosis of certain diseases.
In medicine bacteria are used to produce thousands of antibiotics. Species of bacteria as Streptomyces Are responsible for the production of more than 500 different antibiotics. Similarly, there are antibiotics produced from fungi and other types of bacteria.
The antibiotic name means"against life." This name is because the main role of these compounds is to attack bacteria and other unicellular organisms that may be pathogenic to humans.
The majority of antibiotics used today were discovered from observation on the propagation of fungi on animals in a state of decomposition.
3- Waste treatment
Microorganisms play a vital role in the handling and disposal of domestic and industrial waste. They are responsible for cleaning the waste through a biological process of decomposition or stabilization of organic matter. This decomposition process is as old as life on planet Earth.
The process of controlled biological decomposition is known as composting. The final product thrown by this process is called compost. It can be classified as anaerobic compost when organic matter is decomposed from the use of fungi, bacteria and protozoa.
Microorganisms are responsible for breaking down matter by raising its temperature and producing carbon dioxide. In this way, a substance called humus is generated that has a similar appearance to the soil to grow.
There are billions of bacteria that inhabit the digestive tract of humans. It is estimated that one kilogram of body weight of each person is composed of bacteria known as microflora. These bacteria are responsible for breaking down food remains that have not been previously processed and digested.
The microflora is also responsible for defending the body from fungi and bacteria harmful to human health. It produces vitamin K, which is necessary to regulate blood clotting processes.
The human body can house 400 different types of bacterial species, some of which are only beneficial and others are potentially harmful.
It is essential that there is a balance between these two types of microorganisms to ensure the sustainability of life. The Beneficial bacteria Which live in our gut are known as probiotics and can be obtained commercially when the body fails to preserve them.
He air Is composed mainly of gases, dust particles and water vapor. However, it also contains microorganisms in the form of vegetative cells, spores, fungi, algae, viruses and protozoan cysts.
Air is not a medium in which microorganisms can grow, but it is the one in charge of transporting them along with the particulate material. However, the amount of microorganisms in the air is considerably lower than can be found on land or water.
Microbes in the air are responsible for the degradation of dead cells that are released from the skin of humans. If these microorganisms did not exist, the world would be full of mountains of dead skin.
Biotechnology is the branch of science that deals with the manipulation of living organisms through genetic engineering. It has multiple applications in the biological sciences and depends directly on microorganisms.
Microbial biotechnology is responsible for the study of genomes, which allows to improve vaccines and develop better tools for the diagnosis of diseases.
Advances in microbial biotechnology have allowed the control of pests in animals and plants, from the development of agents that catalyze pathogens and fermentation organisms. All this has allowed the bioreparation of soils and water contaminated by the agricultural processes mainly.
The microorganisms that live in the soil allow to improve the Agricultural productivity. Humans naturally use organisms to develop fertilizers and biopesticides.
The objective of the development of these substances is to contribute to plant growth and control pests, weed growth and other diseases (Schulz, Brankatschk, Dumig, & Kogel-Knabner, 2013).
These microorganisms present in the soil allow plants to absorb more nutrients as energy sources needed to live. The plants, in turn, deliver their waste to the microorganisms so that they feed on them and generate biofertilizers.
The agricultural industry has used microorganisms during the last hundred years for the generation of biofertilizers and biopesticides.
In this way, plant foods can be grown in a controlled and safe manner, blocking potential threats to the environment and contributing to the acceleration of natural processes such as the release of nitrogen from the soil (Mosttafiz, Rahman, & Rahman, 2012).
Life as it is known today exists thanks to the evolution of millions of microorganisms that changed the structure of the world and gave way to complex life forms.
These microorganisms are known as Cyanobacteria And were responsible for the development of aerobic conditions in the primitive soil, allowing the process of photosynthesis to be possible. This change in conditions led to the development of life and its evolution over millions of years (Zilber-Rosenberg & Rosenberg, 2008).
Bacteria are unicellular organisms that developed millions of years ago. Some theories suggest that, thanks to the global cooling process, a series of complex chemical reactions took place in the water.
For millions of years these chemical reactions allowed bacteria to develop nucleic acid, and protein, taking the form of more complex particles. Eventually, these new primitive particles joined and gave way to the formation of cells that later became new forms of life.
Microorganisms are present anywhere in the body. biosphere And their presence affects the environment in which they coexist. These effects of microorganisms in the environment can be beneficial, harmful or neutral according to the standards imposed by human observation.
The benefits derived from the action of microorganisms take place thanks to their metabolic activities in the medium. Activities they perform in relation to plants and animals, from which they take their energy to carry out biological processes.
In this way, there is the concept of bioreparation, consisting of the elimination of materials toxic to the environment, such as oil spills in water or land.
The processes of biofiltration and transformation of toxic materials are only possible by the action of microorganisms, since the majority of particles that pollute the environment can be decomposed by different types of bacteria (Zarb, Ghorbani, Koocheki, & Leifert, 2005).
10- Body Balance
The more complex communities of microorganisms located in the human body have the power to balance or unbalance it. For this reason, compounds such as probiotics have been developed to administer necessary doses of beneficial bacteria that allow the regulation of internal processes of the body.
There are biological therapies in which intestine material is inserted from one patient into another in order to regulate the number of bacteria contained in the intestine. This balances the number of microorganisms needed to perform vital body processes.
- Lasztity, R. (1996). MICROORGANISMS IMPORTANT IN FOOD MICROBIOLOGY. Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems, 1-4.
- Mosttafiz, S., Rahman, M., & Rahman, M. (2012). Biotechnology: Role Of Microbes In Sustainable Agriculture And Environmental Health. The Internet Journal of Microbiology.
- Prabhu, N. (19 of 8 of 2016). Quora. Retrieved from What are 10 ways in which microorganisms are useful?: quora.com.
- Schulz, S., Brankatschk, R., Dumig, A., & Kogel-Knabner, I. (2013). The role of microorganisms in different stages of ecosystem. Biogeosciences, 3983-3996.
- Todar, K. (2008). Todar's Online Book Of Bacteriology. Retrieved from The Impact of Microbes on the Environment and Human Activities (page 1): textbookofbacteriology.net.
- Zarb, J., Ghorbani, R., Koocheki, A., & Leifert, C. (4 of 2005). The importance of microorganisms in organic agriculture. Outlooks on Pest Management 16, pp. 52-55.
- Zilber-Rosenberg, & Rosenberg, E. (8 of 2008). PubMed. Obtained from Role of microorganisms in the evolution of animals and plants: the hologenome theory of evolution: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.