The Importance Of Microbial Life

Better Essays
The earth is home to over 8 million different forms of life. If an extraterrestrial life form had the ability to peer into the rich landscape of our planet, first impressions may lead them to assume that humans dominate the third rock from the sun. They would be wrong. While humans may be the most visible inhabitants of the Earth our populations are dwarfed by microbial life. In addition, modern advancements in science and technology have revealed that human life itself is support by and works in concert with microbial life forms (Ackerman #3). In fact, human life as we known it would not be possible if it were not for our microscopic friends. As such, it is of great importance to scientific minds that we unlock the secret interworking of these…show more content…
This means that they are single celled organisms that lack a membrane-bound nucleus, mitochondria, or any other membrane-bound organelles (Wikipedia #7). These are handy characteristics for prokaryotes because the lack of a membrane-bound nucleus contributes to accelerated production of essential proteins. Like Eukarya, Bacterial membranes are composed of unbranched fatty acid chains attached to glycerol by ester linkages. Unique to bacteria is the peptidoglycan present in their cell walls. The presence of peptidoglycan in bacteria cell walls creates yet another tool of differentiation for Scientist. Some bacteria have a thick cell wall with many layers of peptidoglycan, while other have a thin layer of peptidoglycan encased by a lipid layer. Utilizing a method termed Gram Staining scientist can wash bacteria with a series of dyes which will render two distinct color variations between bacteria containing substantial peptidoglycan and those which contain a minute amount of peptidoglycan. Bacteria also contain an additional source of genetic information separate from their nucleoid, a region in the cytoplasm which houses the bacteria’s vital genetic information. This separate source of genetic code is called a plasmid. While plasmids are capable of performing critical functions, such as providing resistance to antibodies, they are not vital to the bacteria’s survival. Bacteria have the capability of exchanging these plasmids between one another,…show more content…
Archaea have emerged as the most primitive organisms yet discovered (Wikipedia #8). This is exciting because Archaean functions can give humans invaluable insight into some of the most basic functions that facilitated life on our planet. Furthermore, the study of primitive organism and the conditions they require for survival can clue scientist in on extraterrestrial environments that may possibility support life similar to our own. Like bacteria, Archaea are prokaryotes (Article 1). However, Archaea do have several unique features such as the branched hydrocarbon chains in their membranes which are attached to glycerol via ether linkages. Archaea also contain no peptidoglycan with their cell wall (Kaiser #6). Archaea are not sensitive to certain antibiotics that negatively affect bacteria, yet are sensitive to some antibiotics that affect Eukarya. (Kaiser #6). This would suggest that archaeans have a deeper connection to Eukarya than to that of bacteria as originally thought. Another distinction of Archaea is their unique rRNA that is different from that of Bacteria and Eukarya. Possibly the most interesting characteristic of Archaea is its classification has an extremophile (Wikipedia #8). Archaea have the unique ability to thrive in some of the most hostile environments on the planet. Archaea can be
Get Access