Bacteria: We owe them our lives!

bacteria are just trying to surviveIt is no secret that many readers of this blog are fascinated by the abilities, diversity, flexibility and significance of microbes. Indeed, our planet is a “microbial planet”. The oldest (originated over 3.8 billion years ago) and by far the most abundant forms of life are the ones too small to be seen by the unaided eye.

This (slightly dramatic) video from Frank Gregorio, an american Science teacher is choreographed to powerful music and illustrates beautifully how we feel about bacteria. Not simply good or bad, but fascinated nonetheless. Designed as a motivational “trailer” to be shown by teachers in Biology and Microbiology as a visual introduction to the wonders of microbes it might also come in handy to share and help explain your love for microbiology with others aswell. Enjoy!


Introduction to Bacteria

When we think of bacteria, we usually consider the sickness they cause; Lymes, Thyphoid Fever, Tuberculosis, MRSA, Strep Throat, Cholera, Ulcers, Salmonella. Although our immune systems fight them off – and usually succeeds – Bacteria still kill millions each year. So we work hard to kill them. But there is another side to bacteria, one we are now beginning to understand:

We owe them our lives!

We are all familiar with Earth of today. But millions of years ago it was a very hostile place Earth’s land was hot and volcanic and its seas were toxic and violent. Yet somewhere near an undersea well or in the shallows of a quite cove, something amazing happened

The first life on earth was born. That first living thing was a bacterium. They where the first parents to ever live on our planet. These bacteria evolved to make oxygen and turned the world blue. They compose Earths organic waste. They clean up our mess. They protect our skin from invaders and help us digest our food. They eat our sewage and are an ingredient in many foods.

How do bacteria do what they do? How did they create the first DNA. Why do only some of them cause disease? How have they survived billions of years?