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Impact of Microorganisms Research

Jordan Phillips
Microorganisms are essential to human existence on the planet
Microorganisms play a crucial role in human existence across a whole range of different aspects. The human body, both inside and out is covered in millions of microorganisms, which help to protect us from infection from harmful microbes (Microbiology, 17). They help to digest our food, have significant roles within the decomposition of waste, are involved in both carbon and nitrogen cycles, within the food industry, human digestive system, agricultural pest control and also genetics.
Microorganisms in the nitrogen cycle prove that these are not only beneficial for humans, but plants as well, including diazotrophs, which have developed a symbiotic relationship. An example of this is rhizobium present in nodules on legume roots, which through nitrogen fixation enables the plant to flourish within nitrogen deficient earth. Of the three stages of the nitrogen cycle, microorganisms are crucial, nitrosomonas and nitrosococcus convert ammonium ions into nitrate, then during nitrification, nitrobacter converts nitrate to nitrate in the first stage. Secondly denitrification occurs and pseudomonas denitrificans reduces nitrate into nitrogen gas. In the final stage nitrogen fixation occurs whereby diazotrophs reduce nitrogen from air into ammonia, which is then utilized by plants to synthesize DNA and amino acids (Biology, 1999). Mycorrhizal fungi also forms a symbiotic relationship with the root of a plant and enables fungal hyphae to increase surface area which allows the plant roots to take in and absorb more nutrients, which in turn benefits fungi as they gain essential sugars produced during photosynthesis (Le, 17).
Within the carbon cycle microorganisms play a vital role, whereby autotrophic bacteria such as cyanobacteria synthesise organic molecules using CO² from the atmosphere, and is then used by other organisms which then release oxygen for human respiration. As microorganisms act as decomposers, they are vital components of the food chain, aiding in breaking down dead organisms and organic materials, and then releasing minerals for uptake by living organisms and releasing CO² back into the atmosphere to then be consumed by photosynthetic organisms (khan, 17). Methanogens influence the carbon cycle by converting CO² to methane, then releasing it into the atmosphere increasing methane concentration, and in contrast methanotrophs consume methane from the atmosphere which in turn leads to a decrease of greenhouse gas and global warming (edu, 2017)
In the food industry, especially in the production of dairy products microorganisms are extremely beneficial to humans. Lactobacillus bulgaricus and streptococcus thermophiles convert lactose from milk into lactic acid, which then causes milk to coagulate during fermentation, forming yoghurt. Probiotic yoghurt is now widely sold to help maintain the balance of microbial flora and prevent the growth of pathogens within our gut. Microbes like yeast which aid the process of baking bread, brewing alcohol and food preservation are also a mainstay within our diet (Hofkin, 2010). Fusarium graminearum, which is a type of fungus has been developed into a meat substitute which is used in daily diets worldwide (Botany, 2017). The fermentation of milk due to lactic acid bacteria causes milk to coagulate and form a curd, and additional organisms are then added to form various types of cheese, for example penicillium camaberti is added to produce camembert (Hofkin, 2010).
The human digestive system includes many different forms of friendly bacteria which are vital in terms of the metabolism of food, the production of enzymes and vitamins to help aid digestion, for example ß-galactosidase, amylase. They also help in getting rid of disease causing microorganisms and the regulation of intestinal acidity. None pathogenic bacteria like lactobacillus form symbiotic relationships with most multicellular organisms which are essential to the maintenance of human health by ensuring any pathogenic bacteria is prevented from growing and aids in our immune system at the same time. Microorganisms which exist in ruminant’s digestive systems are used as a source of amino acids, but also help to break down cellulose into monosaccharaides, releasing useable energy (Vet, 17).
In agricultural pest control, bacillus thuringiensis produce BT-toxin, with is lethal to insects upon ingestion, but non-pathogenic to humans and animals. This toxin is genetically engineered into crops to increase yield. Certain viruses are also microbial bio pesticides and baculovriruses, which can specifically target caterpillars by releasing nucleosaspids which ultimately causes death upon ingestion. Overall microorganisms are highly efficient within pest control without any huge environmental side effects (Insa, 17)
Upon further study of microbes genetics, it has enabled us to develop uses within genetic engineering, for instance gene cloning and has created huge benefits within the biotechnological industry. Microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses and bacteriophages act as cloning vectors to transfer a specific sequence of gene into the plasmid of a bacterial cell by using restriction enzymes, which purpose is to bind to the inverted palindrome within both the chromosomal and vector DNA, which cleaves the DNA and produces sticky ends. These are the joined together by DNA ligase and forming a recombinant DNA which is then used to transform the bacteria host cell and can then be induced to produce protein which certain genes encode as the vector is replicated and divided ultimately producing new cells. Proteins from recombinant technology can be used to manufacture medicines, synthetic vaccines, amongst other vital substances like insulin. The application of microorganisms within the medical industry is hugely beneficial to human health (Hofkin, 2010)
References (17, 02 05). Retrieved from Microbiology: http://microbiologyonline.org/about-microbiology/microbes-and-the-human-body
(17, 02 05). Retrieved from khan: https://www.khanacademy.org/science/biology/ecology/biogeochemical-cycles/a/the-carbon-cycle
(17, 02 06). Retrieved from Vet: http://www.vet.ed.ac.uk/clive/cal/RUMENCAL/Frames/frmRumen.html
(17, 02 06). Retrieved from Insa: http://insa.nic.in/writereaddata/UpLoadedFiles/PINSA/Vol80_2014_2_Art27.pdf
(2017, 02 05). Retrieved from edu: http://www.vet.ed.ac.uk/clive/cal/rumencal/Info/infMeth.html
(2017, 02 05). Retrieved from Botany: http://botit.botany.wisc.edu/toms_fungi/aug2005.html
Biology. (1999). Benjamin Cummings.
Hofkin, B. (2010). Living in a microbial world. New mexico: Garland.
Le. (17, 02 05). Retrieved from https://www.le.ac.uk/se/centres/sci/selfstudy/eco7.htm

Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome: Causes and Effects

Shalyn Bauer
Neonatal respiratory distress syndrome or (NRDS) occurs when a newborn baby’s lungs are not fully developed. This is often found in premature babies, however there is the occasional case where the baby is not premature. This disease is mainly caused by the lack of a substance called surfactant. Surfactant is a slippery substance made up of a mixture of lipids and proteins that is secreted into the fluid lining of the “alveolar space by epithelial type II cells” (ScienceDirect). This substance helps fill air in the lungs and keep the air sacs from collapsing. Surfactant usually starts to produce between week 24 through 28 and by week 34 there is enough produced for an infant to breathe normally. This is why a baby born prematurely may not have enough of this substance and have lung problems and difficulty breathing.
Babies who are not premature but have NRDS can be caused by the mother having diabetes or poor lung development. Other risk factors include carrying twins or triplets or reduced blood flow during delivery. In a rare case, there may be a problem with a gene which can affect lung development. According to the article Neonatal respiratory distress syndrome, “It’s estimated half of all babies born before 28 weeks of pregnancy will develop NRDS.” This has recently gone down due to the fact that a mother can be given a steroid during premature labor. If a premature delivery is expected, a mother can receive corticosteroids which speed up lung production and production of surfactant.
NRDS displays symptoms that can be noticed right after being born. For example, a baby with this disease may have a bluish tint to their skin, flaring of nostrils or give off a grunting sound while breathing. In some cases a baby may not experience symptoms right after birth. It can take up to 24 hours before you can tell. Doctors how believe a child may have NRDS will order blood tests to measure the amount of oxygen in the blood and to rule out infections that could cause these symptoms. A doctor will also order a chest X-ray to look over the lungs. A pulse oximetry test, which is a sensor attached to the baby’s finger, ear or toe to measure how much oxygen is being absorbed into the blood.
An infant who is diagnosed with NRDS will be admitted into a neonatal intensive care unit. They will provide the infant with warm moist oxygen and will be monitored closely to ensure the infant will not receive too much oxygen. An infant can be given artificial surfactant which is put in the airway to help restore normal lung function. An infant can also be put on a ventilator to provide extra breathing support. Without proper oxygen intake, a baby’s organs will not function properly. This is why treatment is crucial when a baby is first diagnosed. The treatment varies based on how severe the case may be. It is said that receiving consistent prenatal care and avoiding smoking, drugs and alcohol can help reduce the risk of premature delivery.
There are some complications that come along with NRDS. This disease can be fatal in some cases. According to the article, Neonatal respiratory distress syndrome “In more severe cases there’s a risk of further problems. These can include scarring to the lungs, leading to longer-term breathing problems. There’s also a risk of brain damage, which may result in problems such as learning difficulties.” Complications vary based on the severity of the case. Every baby is different and will experience different complications from the disease. NRDS is a scary diagnose for parents to hear, however the majority of cases can be successfully treated.
Works Cited “Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome.” MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2017.
“Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome.” NHS Choices. NHS, n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2017.
Medically Reviewed by Tyler Walker, MD on February 18, 2016 – Written by Jaime Herndon. “Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome.” Healthline. N.p., 18 Feb. 2016. Web. 30 Mar. 2017.
“Role of Pulmonary Surfactant Components in Surface Film Formation and Dynamics.” Role of Pulmonary Surfactant Components in Surface Film Formation and Dynamics. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2017.

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