Microbes in Human Welfare

Microbes or microorganisms form a big component of the biological systems of the world. They are ubiquitous, present everywhere – within the soil, around us, in water, the air we breathe, and both in and on our body. Animals and plants also contain microbes or microorganisms. They are so tiny, microscopic in nature, varying in shape and size. They can only be seen through the microscope. The different types of microbes are:

  • Algae

  • Bacteria

  • Fungi

  • Protozoa

  • Virus

 

Microbes in Human Welfare

There are several useful microorganisms which are beneficial to humans in various ways apart from the harmful and infectious disease-causing pathogens. Some of the foremost important contributions of microbes to human welfare are discussed below. 

 

In Household Products

  • Fermentation of milk to prepare yogurt.

  • Milk cuddling to prepare curd, cheese, and paneer.

  • Fermentation of dough, which is used for making bread, idli, and dosa.

 

In Industrial Products

  • Production Beverages like wine, beer, whiskey, brandy or rum.

  • Production antibiotics like Penicillin and other chemical substances to kill or retard the expansion of disease-causing microbes.

  • Few Chemicals, Enzymes and other Bioactive Molecules also are produced by these microbes for various human uses.

 

In Sewage Treatment

  • Sewage is treated in sewage treatment plans(STPs) before disposing of so as to make it less polluting which is naturally carried out by heterotrophic microbes present in the sewage. The treatment is administered in two stages – Primary treatment, Secondary treatment or biological treatment

  • These processes minimize the demand of biochemical oxygen of the effluent significantly. BOD is the amount of oxygen that might be consumed if all the organic matter in one litre of water were oxidized by the bacteria. The sewage water is treated to reduce the effect of BOD as the BOD gauges the rate of uptake of oxygen by microbes in a water sample. Therefore, BOD may be a measure of the organic matter present in water. More the demand for biochemical oxygen, more is its polluting potential.

 

In Biogas Production

  • Methanobacterium, commonly found in anaerobic sludge is used to facilitate sewage treatment. They are also found in the rumen of ruminants.

  • The excreta of cattle, also known as Gobar is rich in bacteria and therefore is used for the generation of biogas commonly termed as Gobar gas.

 

As Biocontrol Agents

  • The utilization of biological methods to regulate plants pests and diseases is mentioned as biocontrol which has been achieved through chemicals – pesticides and insecticides.

  • Use of biocontrol measures will reduce the dependence on toxic chemicals and pesticides to a greater extent.

  • Biological farming enhances the life forms like the inhabiting of the sector , pests and predators, life cycles, feeding patterns that helps in developing suitable means of biocontrol

  • Bacillus thuringiensis, available as dry spores, sprayed on vulnerable plants are some of the examples of Microbial biocontrol agents 

  • Genetic engineering developments have enabled scientists to release B. thuringiensis toxins genes into the plant body thereby making them resistant to attacks by insect pests. Example – Bt-cotton

  • Most of the baculoviruses used as biological control agents are within the genus Nucleopolyhedrovirus.

  • Microbes are also used as biofertilizers.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. Mention the Association of Microbes in Human Welfare

Ans: Microbes or microorganisms form a big component of the biological systems of the world. They are ubiquitous, present everywhere – within the soil, around us, in water, the air we breathe, and both in and on our body. Animals and plants also contain microbes or microorganisms. They are so tiny, microscopic in nature, varying in shape and size. They can only be seen through the microscope. The different types of microbes are:

  • Algae

  • Bacteria

  • Fungi

  • Protozoa

  • Virus

Q2. Where Do Microbes Play an Important Role in Human Welfare?

Ans: The microbes play an important role in human welfare in the following areas - 

  1. Household products 

  2. Industrial products 

  3. Sewage Treatment 

  4. Biogas Production 

Q3. How Microbes Work as Biocontrol Agents ?

Ans: Biocontrol agents work in the following ways - 

  • The utilization of biological methods to regulate plants pests and diseases is mentioned as biocontrol which has been achieved through chemicals – pesticides and insecticides.

  • Use of biocontrol measures will reduce the dependence on toxic chemicals and pesticides to a greater extent.

  • Biological farming enhances the life forms like the inhabiting of the sector , pests and predators, life cycles, feeding patterns that helps in developing suitable means of biocontrol

  • Bacillus thuringiensis, available as dry spores, sprayed on vulnerable plants are some of the examples of Microbial biocontrol agents 

  • Genetic engineering developments have enabled scientists to release B. thuringiensis toxins genes into the plant body thereby making them resistant to attacks by insect pests. Example – Bt-cotton

  • Most of the baculoviruses used as biological control agents are within the genus Nucleopolyhedrovirus.

  • Microbes are also used as biofertilizers.

Q4. Mention Some of the Names of Microbes

Ans: The different types of microbes are:

  • Algae

  • Bacteria

  • Fungi

  • Protozoa

  • Virus