Economic Importance of Bacteria

Bacteria are economically very important to people as they are employed in variety of reasons. For example, bacteria are used in the making delicacies like cheese, fudge, vinegar and yogurt. These are just a few things, that use bacteria. Apart from this, bacteria are also important in the agricultural field as they help form different fertilizers and compost in genetic engineering and modification bacteria are extensively used.

The human-bacterial interaction is amazing. Many bacteria have been identified as potentially harmful. Typhoid, cholera, diphtheria, pneumonia, and various illnesses in open wounds are all caused by a particular kind of bacterium. On the other hand, life on Earth would be impossible without the efforts of certain bacterium species. Humans nurture some bacteria since they are essential for biological functions. Bacteria are one of the world's most prevalent living types. They're also among the simplest and smallest of all living things. Bacteria's economic significance stems from the fact that bacteria may be employed by humans in several ways. Even though certain bacteria are detrimental, such as causing illness and destroying food, bacteria's economic significance encompasses both their beneficial and negative sides.

Students must understand these principles since they are exposed to microorganisms regularly and must be aware of which bacteria are beneficial and harmful.

Read on to explore the Bacteria's Economic Importance and Roles.

Bacteria are unicellular creatures with cell walls but no organelles or a well-organized nucleus, including those that may cause illness. Bacteria (singular bacterium) are members of the prokaryotic kingdom Monera, which is the sole one. They are prokaryotic bacteria that make up a broad domain. They might be saprophytes, meaning they feed on dead and decaying substances, or parasites, meaning they live on or within other creatures' bodies. Some of them also feed in an autotrophic manner. Chlorophyll is present in several forms, such as Nostoc.

Bacteria have a significant role in the economy since they are employed in various activities, as detailed below. Examples of the Economic Importance of Bacteria may assist you in comprehending the relevance of bacteria.

Beneficial bacteria

Food preparation

Sourdough bread is prepared by fermenting a bacteria-based leaven, commonly coupled with wild yeast enzymes.

Lactobacillus is a milk-souring bacterium species used to manufacture yogurt and cheese. Bacteria are also employed in pickles and vinegar to produce organic acids.

Biotechnology

In the biotechnology field also, bacteria play a very important role. Different service sectors have used bacteria for the manufacture of chemicals like organic acids, ethanol, enzymes, acetone, and different kind of fragrances. Bacteria are extensively used to manufacture different nutritional supplements and many medications. For example, E Coli is used in the production of vitamin K and riboflavin. Moreover, E.coli is also used to make products like D amino acids, which proves to be a key precursor in amoxicillin production, an antibiotic.

The altering of genes is known as genetic engineering. Recombinant DNA technology is another name for it. A multitude of strategies are used in genetic engineering to introduce fragments of DNA (genes) into a host, one of the first being the use of a viral vector. The foreign DNA becomes a permanent part of the host, replicating and passing on to daughter cells with the rest of the host's DNA. Bacterial cells are converted and exploited to make economically valuable goods. Human insulin (used to treat diabetes and human growth hormone are two examples (somatotrophin is used to treat pituitary dwarfism).

Fiber retting

In the retting process, bacteria like Clostridium butyricum are employed to separate the fibers of jute, hemp, and flax. Ropes, bags, and other items are made from these separated fibers. The plants are submerged in water and injected with bacteria that hydrolyze pectic compounds in cell walls and separate the fibers when they expand. Alternatively, since dew supplies moisture, the plants may be spread out on the ground and ret organically.

Pest management

In biological pest management, bacteria may potentially be employed instead of insecticides. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), a Gram-positive, soil-dwelling bacteria, is often used. Under the trade names Dipel and Thuricide, this bacterium is employed as a Lepidopteran-specific pesticide.

These insecticides are considered ecologically benign due to their specificity since they have minimal impact on people, animals, pollinators, or other beneficial insects. Bacteria may be utilized to remove contaminants from polluted water, soil, and underground material in bioremediation.

Digestion

Different bacteria involving the class of Ruminococcus species are found in the guts of cattle, horses, and other herbivores and they help these animals by digesting cellulose through the production of the enzyme cellulase. Through this process, the animal benefits by getting the energy from the green grass they eat. And bacteria get the place to live. Apart from this, E. coli, a bacterium, also helps humans form microbiota in the stomach and transforming food into vitamin K2. This is absorbed in the colon and is enough to satisfy the vitamin's daily need in animal models.

Leather Tanning

Bacteria aids in the purification of animal skins, making them easier, cleaner, and more suitable for use.

Medicines

Even in the medical field, bacteria are extensively used for the production of antibiotics some of examples of antibiotics include streptomycin, amoxicillin, etc. apart from that, bacteria are also helpful in the production of vaccines against a variety of diseases.

Dairy products

Several bacteria genera are utilized in food preparation, either directly or indirectly.

  1. Curd Formation: Bacterial activity transforms milk into curd. Lactose in milk is transformed into lactic acid, which gives the curd its distinctive sour flavor. Lactic acid bacteria (LAB), such as Lactobacillus, are added to milk as a preservative. Milk is inoculated with Lactobacillus acidophilus to make Indian curd.
  2. Making yogurt: It's made by curdling milk with Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus. Cheese is made by coagulating milk with lactic acid bacteria and then filtering the curd to remove the whey. The solid mass is then ripened by the development of mold, which gives it a distinct flavor. Cheese is made by Propionibacteriumshermanii.

Other advantages -

In industry, bacterial activity produces a vast number of goods, which is directly proportionate to the economic value of bacteria.

  1. Antibiotics: Several antibiotics are made from microorganisms that have been utilized in medicine. Different bacterial species produce antibiotics such as Terramycin, Streptomycin, Tetracycline, Aureomycin, and Neomycin.
  2. Vaccinations: Several vaccines have been made using microbes that have been killed or attenuated (live but reproduce slowly). For example, microorganisms make TB vaccines, whooping cough vaccines, plague vaccines, DTP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis) vaccines, and pneumonia vaccines.
  3. Decomposers: Bacteria operate as decomposers in the maintenance of environmental balance and agriculture. Plants may use the nutrient because they make it accessible to them. In agriculture, certain bacteria genera are utilized as biocontrol agents. Bacteria are also employed in the elimination of toxic insects that kill the plant, and one the example is Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)
  4. Nitrogen fixation and soil fertility: A separate class of bacteria helps fix atmospheric nitrogen into organic nitrogen, which the plant uses.In the soil, the bacteria Azotobacter and Clostridium aid in nitrogen fixation.
    One of the major classes of bacteria involves rhizobium species, which helps fix nitrogen in the leguminous plants by forming root noodles. They increase the soil's nitrogen content in the plant by doing this. Symbiotic nitrogen fixation is the name for this process.

    Cyanobacteria also aid nitrogen fixation. In symbiotic settings, Nostoc, Anabaena, and other plants have heterocysts containing nitrogenase enzymes that fix atmospheric nitrogen. This process is aided by Nostoc, which is connected with the coralloid roots of Cycas. Anabaena azollae is related to Azolla, a water fern that aids in nitrogen fixation in rice fields.
    Role in Nitrogen Cycling:
    A major player in the nitrogen cycle is nitrifying bacteria which carries out nitrification, and it is one of the most important steps in the cycle. The bacteria belonging to this class are chemolithotrophic, and they are called nitrifying bacteria. Example are nitrosomonas, nitrobacter, nitrococcus, nitrobacillus. The oxidation of inorganic nitrogen molecules provides energy to these microorganisms.

    Denitrifying microorganisms such as Pseudomonas denitrificans and Thiobacillusdenitrificans convert nitrates to free nitrogen in the atmosphere.
  5. Biogas Production: Biogas is an important organic product that is used in industrial as well as residential use in the form of fuel biogas is composed of 50 to 60% methane, 3-4% carbon dioxide, 3% sulfur compounds, and other elements in trace amount like Hydrogen, nitrogen, etc.
    • In a biogas digester, animal dung is utilized in the following procedures to produce gas (gobar gas):
    • Hydrolysis is the first phase, which necessitates the use of anaerobic bacteria such as Clostridium, Pseudomonas, and others.
    • Acidogenesis is the second phase. Facultatively anaerobic, acidogenic bacteria and obligate anaerobic organisms assist in converting simple organic matter into formic acid, acetic acid, and other acids.
    • Anaerobic Methanogenic bacteria such as Methanobacterium, Methanococcus, and others convert organic acids to Methane in the last stage.
  6. Sewage Treatment: Sewage is a pollutant made of agricultural and home waste materials. The removal of such trash requires a combination of chemical and biological treatment.
    • The biological therapy is a secondary treatment that greatly lowers BOD. In this technique, anaerobic microorganisms are utilized.
    • Once the BOD in the settling tank has decreased, tertiary treatment is performed. Methanogens, for the most part, grow anaerobically and create biogas.

Bacteria are used to make curd.

Curd is made from milk by combining Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB), such as Lactobacillus, with warm milk. The milk sugar (lactose) is converted to lactic acid by these bacteria, resulting in curd creation.

After the curd has been produced, it is moved to a colder location to prevent germs from growing. Otherwise, the bacteria would sour it by producing too much lactic acid.

Bacteria may harm humans in a variety of ways.

1. Food Spoilage:

Bacteria destroy cooked food, fruits, vegetables, butter, fish, and meat, especially during the summer months, by creating putrefaction of the food ingredients.

When bacterium-contaminated food is ingested, microorganisms such as Salmonella typhimurium and Clostridium botulinum produce a severe form of food poisoning. Food poisoning, often known as botulism, is caused by Clostridium botulinum.

2. Soil Fertility Reduction

Denitrification: usually, wet soil has a high content of organic matter inhabited by anaerobic bacteria.By decreasing the soil's nitrogen content, these bacteria impair soil fertility. The bacteria help in the decomposition of the nitrates in the soil, thereby releasing free nitrogen, which is then escaped into the atmosphere, and by this, soil fertility is lowered. This process is called denitrification.

Bacteria cause TB in cattle, anthrax in sheep, cholera in chickens, and pneumonia in horses, sheep, and goats, among other animal diseases.

4. Human Illnesses:

Bacteria cause various dangerous diseases like Typhoid, cholera, Pneumonia etc

5. Plant Illnesses:

Bacteria cause a variety of plant diseases. Leaf spots, soft rots, vascular illnesses, and bacterial galls are all caused. Citrus canker is caused by the bacterium Xanthomonascitri.

6. Bioweapons:

A bioweapon, also known as a biological weapon, is a device that transports and delivers a disease-causing biological agent (such as bacteria, viruses, or genetically modified organisms) or a toxin generated from it to a target organism. A bioweapon agent is a biological agent or poison used as a weapon. Humans, crops, and animals are all targets for biological agents. BioWare, or biological warfare, is the name for the employment of bioweapons in this manner. Anthrax, smallpox, plague, and gastroenteritis are possible side effects of several bioweapons. Anthrax is caused by Bacillus anthracis, gastroenteritis is caused by Vibrio cholera, and plague is caused by Yersinia pestis. Clostridium botulinum produces botulinum toxin, which is used to induce lethal food poisoning. Some of these agents have been used before. In 2001, for example, the anthrax bacteria were delivered through letters. Bioweapons are inexpensive weapons that kill considerably more people than conventional weapons.

Summary

In this post, we learned that bacteria belong to the Monera kingdom. They are the most diversified creatures, with a broad range of dispersion, feeding, reproduction, and other characteristics. In terms of nutrition, they are probiotic, parasitic, and autotrophic. Some are beneficial to humans, whereas the majority are pathogenic, causing damage to animals and plants. Through various examples, we also looked at the economic relevance of microbial processes.







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