lab_04_microbial_ubiquity - Miramar College Biology 205...

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Lab Exercise 4: Microbial Ubiquity Page 1 of 2 Miramar College Biology 205 Microbiology Lab Exercise 4: Microbial Ubiquity Background The term microbe includes a wide range of organisms, from single cell prokaryotes ( bacteria and archaea ) to single and multi-celled eukaryotes ( fungi , algae , protozoa and helminths ). The term even includes non-living viruses and prions . As the name of this lab suggests, bacteria are ubiquitous , they are everywhere. They are in the air you breathe, the food and water you consume and they play an integral part in both causing sickness and maintaining good health. Bacteria are much more than the sum of the diseases they can cause however. In fact, less than 1% of bacteria are classified as human pathogens. Many bacteria perform tasks in the environment that are absolutely essential to the survival of the human species and the continued existence of the earth as we know it. They play essential and sometimes exclusive roles in the biogeochemical cycling of nutrients like carbon, nitrogen, sulfur and many other inorganic substances into forms usable to higher organisms. Bacteria are also incredibly metabolically diverse- bioremediating not only waste materials, but in some cases substances that are dangerous. There are even bacteria out there that can metabolize 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT). Bacteria are some of the most widely distributed organisms in the biosphere. Based on their diverse metabolic needs and abilities, they are capable of thriving in a huge range of ecological niches: deep sea hydrothermal vents, soil and water, the surface of metal pipes and rocks, polar snow caps
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This note was uploaded on 12/23/2009 for the course BIO 205 taught by Professor Murphy during the Fall '09 term at Miramar College.

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lab_04_microbial_ubiquity - Miramar College Biology 205...

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