Related topics: antibiotics · protein · cells · immune system · microbes

Black eyed peas could help eliminate need for fertilizer

Black eyed peas' ability to attract beneficial bacteria isn't diminished by modern farming practices, new UC Riverside research shows. Planting it in rotation with other crops could help growers avoid the need for costly, ...

Researchers identify new bacteria and viruses on human skin

Researchers at EMBL's European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), the NIH National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and ...

Exploring growth within a confined space

Grow a tomato inside a square box, and you'll end up with a square tomato. It's an experiment that shows clearly how confinement can influence a body's evolving shape.

Sustainable food packaging that keeps harmful microbes at bay

A team of scientists from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, US, has developed a 'smart' food packaging material that is biodegradable, sustainable and ...

New spheres of knowledge on the origin of life

The shape of a cell affects its physical and chemical properties. Different cell types have developed different shapes to enable effective functioning. But what shape were the very first cells, as life began to evolve?

Researchers pioneer new method to edit genes in human cells

Over the past decade, the CRISPR genome-editing system has revolutionized molecular biology, giving scientists the ability to alter genes inside living cells for research or medical applications. Now, researchers at Gladstone ...

Bacterial genome is regulated by an ancient molecule

We are all collections of cells, each cell containing the instructions—our DNA—to become any other cell. What differentiates a heart cell from a skin cell from a brain cell is the expression—or silencing—of genes.

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Bacteria

Actinobacteria (high-G+C) Firmicutes (low-G+C) Tenericutes (no wall)

Aquificae Bacteroidetes/Chlorobi Chlamydiae/Verrucomicrobia Deinococcus-Thermus Fusobacteria Gemmatimonadetes Nitrospirae Proteobacteria Spirochaetes Synergistetes

Acidobacteria Chloroflexi Chrysiogenetes Cyanobacteria Deferribacteres Dictyoglomi Fibrobacteres Planctomycetes Thermodesulfobacteria Thermotogae

The bacteria [bækˈtɪərɪə] (help·info) (singular: bacterium)[α] are a large group of unicellular microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals. Bacteria are ubiquitous in every habitat on Earth, growing in soil, acidic hot springs, radioactive waste, water, and deep in the Earth's crust, as well as in organic matter and the live bodies of plants and animals. There are typically 40 million bacterial cells in a gram of soil and a million bacterial cells in a millilitre of fresh water; in all, there are approximately five nonillion (5×1030) bacteria on Earth, forming much of the world's biomass. Bacteria are vital in recycling nutrients, with many steps in nutrient cycles depending on these organisms, such as the fixation of nitrogen from the atmosphere and putrefaction. However, most bacteria have not been characterized, and only about half of the phyla of bacteria have species that can be grown in the laboratory. The study of bacteria is known as bacteriology, a branch of microbiology.

There are approximately ten times as many bacterial cells in the human flora of bacteria as there are human cells in the body, with large numbers of bacteria on the skin and as gut flora. The vast majority of the bacteria in the body are rendered harmless by the protective effects of the immune system, and a few are beneficial. However, a few species of bacteria are pathogenic and cause infectious diseases, including cholera, syphilis, anthrax, leprosy and bubonic plague. The most common fatal bacterial diseases are respiratory infections, with tuberculosis alone killing about 2 million people a year, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. In developed countries, antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections and in agriculture, so antibiotic resistance is becoming common. In industry, bacteria are important in sewage treatment, the production of cheese and yoghurt through fermentation, as well as in biotechnology, and the manufacture of antibiotics and other chemicals.

Once regarded as plants constituting the class Schizomycetes, bacteria are now classified as prokaryotes. Unlike cells of animals and other eukaryotes, bacterial cells do not contain a nucleus and rarely harbour membrane-bound organelles. Although the term bacteria traditionally included all prokaryotes, the scientific classification changed after the discovery in the 1990s that prokaryotes consist of two very different groups of organisms that evolved independently from an ancient common ancestor. These evolutionary domains are called Bacteria and Archaea.

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