Related topics: bacteria · antibiotics · protein · strains · tuberculosis

New strategies against the antibiotics crisis

One of the most serious threats to public health worldwide is posed by antibiotic-resistant pathogens. The World Health Organization (WHO) warns of the imminent beginning of a post-antibiotic era in which harmless infections ...

Wily tuberculosis bacteria can vary its diet to infect you longer

Worldwide, approximately one in four people is infected by Mycobacterium tuberculosis and while overall New Zealand has relatively low rates of TB, Māori and Pacific people are eight times more likely to be affected than ...

Scientists discover new antibiotic in tropical forest

Scientists from Rutgers University and around the world have discovered an antibiotic produced by a soil bacterium from a Mexican tropical forest that may help lead to a "plant probiotic," more robust plants and other antibiotics.

The cholera bacterium can steal up to 150 genes in one go

EPFL scientists have discovered that predatory bacteria like the cholera pathogen can steal up to 150 genes in one go from their neighbors. The study sheds light on one of the most fundamental mechanisms of horizontal gene ...

Study shows interactions between bacteria and parasites

A team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has completed the first study of the effects of a simultaneous infection with blood flukes (schistosomes) and the bacterium Helicobacter pylori—a fairly common occurrence ...

Microbe chews through PFAS and other tough contaminants

In a series of lab tests, a relatively common soil bacterium has demonstrated its ability to break down the difficult-to-remove class of pollutants called PFAS, researchers at Princeton University said.

Helping robots to build new antibiotics

A team from The University of Manchester have engineered a common gut bacterium to produce a new class of antibiotics by using robotics. These antibiotics, known as class II polyketides, are also naturally produced by soil ...

The nose of E. coli zips open and closed

With ice-cold electron microscopy microbiologists from Leiden gain more insight into how bacteria respond to their environment. Publication in mBio.

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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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