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Microorganisms

Good Microbes...

With such a variety of microscopic organisms, it's bound to happen that there are some that help the world. There will also be some that hurt the world. We will cover those in another section. We're going to cover a few of the good ones here.

Fixing Nitrogen in Soil

There are bacteria that go through a process called fixing nitrogen. These bacteria, living in the roots of plants, actually help them absorb nitrogen from the surrounding soil. The nitrogen is very important for the growth of the plant, and these little bacteria give them an advantage for survival.

Microbes in the stomachs of cows help them eat grass

Helping Cows Eat Grass

As we said, not all protists are bad for the world. In the bacteria section we already told you about a species that lives in the digestive system in cows. These bacteria help cows break down the cellulose in plants. Similar bacteria live in all sorts of grazing animals, helping them survive off plant material. Many ecosystems are based on creatures that are called herbivores.

Antibiotics

Mold on fruit was found to help fight bacterial diseases Scientists have even discovered fungi that will help you battle bacterial diseases. So you get sick, the doctor looks at you and says you have a bacterial infection, maybe bronchitis. He prescribes an antibiotic to help you get better. Antibiotics are drugs designed to destroy bacteria by weakening their cell walls. When the bacterial cell walls are weak, your immune cells can go in and destroy the bacteria. Although there are many types now, one of the first antibiotics was called penicillin. It was developed from a fungus (a fungus named Penicillium found on an orange, to be exact).

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Generating Electricity from Wastewater (US-NSF Video)

Useful Reference Materials

Encyclopedia.com (Cheese):
http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/cheese.aspx
Wikipedia (Nitrogen Fixation):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrogen_fixation
Encyclopædia Britannica (Nitrogen Fixation):
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/416291/nitrogen-fixation
Books on Amazon.com:
- Modern Biology (Rinehart and Holt)
- Campbell Biology: Concepts and Connections (Reese, Taylor, Simon, and Dickey)
- Prentice Hall: Biology (Miller and Levine)
- Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple (Gladwin and Trattler)
- Microbiology: A Systems Approach (Cowan)




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RELATED LINKS
- Chem4Kids: Biochemistry
- Chem4Kids: Metabolism
- Geography4Kids: Populations
- Geography4Kids: Food Chains
- Geography4Kids: Nitrogen Cycle

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