Where do Microorganisms Live?

Before we delve deeper to find out the answer for, “where do microorganisms live?” let’s get familiar with the fundamentals of microorganisms first. Doing so, we will be better equipped to understand the concept better and relate it in real life scenarios more effectively.

With that being said, let’s proceed to find out more about microorganisms from below!

What are Microbes?

They are tiny organisms which can only be seen under a microscope. Microbes are either multicellular or unicellular. 

In a broader sense, microorganisms can be categorised as friendly microorganisms and harmful organisms. Now, such a distinction is made based on the role they play in our lives and surroundings.

Some of the most common types of microorganisms include bacteria, fungi, algae and protozoa. Contrary to popular belief, viruses are different when compared to other microbes. 

The point of difference lies in how they reproduce and multiply over time. To elaborate, viruses reproduce within the cells of the host organism, which can be a bacterium, plant or animals.

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Fig: Types of microorganisms 

Fun Fact: The existence of microorganisms was discovered between 1665 and 1683 by Antoni van Leeuwenhoek and Robert Hooke.

Where do Microorganisms Live?

Microorganisms can be found everywhere as they can survive in every type of environment. For instance, they are found in water, air, the body of plants and animals, etc. 

Furthermore, they can sustain in extreme conditions that prevail in deserts, equators, freezing water bodies, etc. and can adapt accordingly. Notably, most microorganisms can survive independently; however, some are parasites. 

Uses of Microorganism 

It is noteworthy that microorganisms which are considered to be friendly, are used for several purposes. Some of the uses are as follows –

  1. Preparation of bread, curd, cheese, pickles and cake.

  2. Preparation of vaccines and medicines.

  3. Production of acetic acid, wine and alcohol. 

  4. Nitrogen fixation in soil for increasing soil fertility.

  5. Management of organic waste.

In short, friendly microorganisms come in handy to meet several commercial, medical and production requirements. On that note, let’s proceed to find out the harmful impacts of such organisms.

Harmful Impact of Microorganism 

Microorganisms which tend to cause diseases are known as pathogens. These following pointers highlight the adverse impact of such organisms in brief –

  1. Spoils food.

  2. Degrades leather products, textiles, etc.

The thing about disease-causing microorganisms is that most of them cause diseases which are communicable and can spread rapidly. Mostly air, water, food and physical contact are the standard means to spread diseases caused by microorganisms.

On the other hand, certain diseases are spread through carriers like a housefly, mosquito, etc. Check out the table below to gain some insight about some disease-causing pathogens.

Disease

Pathogen

Mode of Transmission

Malaria 

Protozoa

Carrier

Tuberculosis

bacteria

Air 

Chicken Pox

Virus

Air/ Physical contact

Cholera 

Bacteria 

Food/ Water

Hepatitis B

Virus 

Water

Typhoid 

Bacteria 

Water

Measles

Virus

Air

Polio

Virus

Air/Water


Table: Diseases caused by microorganisms in human beings

Other than these, the foot and mouth disease rampant in cattle is also caused by a virus. Similarly, Anthrax is fatal for both human beings and cattle and is caused by bacteria.

Take a quick look at the table below for the common diseases in plants which are caused by pathogens.

Disease

Pathogen

Mode of Transmission

Rust of wheat

Fungi

Seeds and carriers

Citrus Canker

Bacteria 

Air

Yellow vein mosaic 

Virus 

Carriers


Table: Diseases caused by microorganisms in plants

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are Microorganisms?

Ans. They are either unicellular or multicellular living organisms which are microscopic. The most common microorganisms are bacteria, fungi, algae, virus and protozoa.

2. Where do Microbes Live?

Ans. Microorganisms are present everywhere be it air, water and bodies of animals and plants. Also, they can sustain in any environment and are quick to adapt to their surroundings and prevailing situation. 

3. What are the Uses of Microorganisms?

Ans. Friendly microorganisms are extensively used for commercial, agricultural and medicinal purposes. For example, certain organisms are used to produce bread, cheese, alcohol as well as vaccines and potent medicines.