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DiversityofLife - Chapter 20 Diversity of Life...

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3/1/11 1 Chapter 20 Diversity of Life Bacteria (Domain) Most do not cause disease Harmless varieties live on and in us; skin, digestive tract Millions of unstudied species live in soil or water and do not interact with humans at all Bacterial Roles in Nature Oxygen production Photosynthetic bacteria join plants and algae to make O 2 that we breathe Nitrogen fixation Brings an essential nutrient (N 2 ) from air into soil; helps plants Decomposers Without them, organic material would pile up instead of recycling Bacteria are very small Bacterial Characteristics •Prokaryotic •Single-celled •Asexual reproduction •Cell wall made of peptidoglycan •Different species are metabolically diverse
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3/1/11 2 Bacteria and Disease Bacteria that cause disease are called pathogens Typically, they harm us with toxins that they secrete or leave behind Famous bacterial diseases: bubonic plague, tetanus, cholera, tuberculosis, etc.
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