Asad Khawaja

What are Endospores?

Endospores are a dormant, tough, and non-reproductive structure that can only be produced by a small amount of bacteria. Their function is to ensure the survival of the bacteria whenever the bacteria is under environmental stress, meaning that whenever the bacteria is in an environment which is harmful for the bacteria, it can turn into an endospore to survive. If the bacteria turns into an endospore, it can resist most things such as radiation and chemicals and can stay as as an endospore for a long time. This only happens in a few gram positive bacteria.

How does a Bacteria turn into an Endospore?

Whenever the bacteria is in an environment that is harmful to it, it copies its DNA and splits into two parts: the mother cell and the part that will become the endospore which also has the copied DNA. Then the mother cell engulfs the other part and this leads to the construction of the compounds needed in the endospore. Finally, the mother cell breaks apart and the newly created endospore remains.

Structure of an Endospore

The center of an endospore, known as the core, contains the cytoplasm, DNA, ribosomes, and enzymes which are needed when the endospore becomes a bacteria again. It is surrounded by a cell wall which is also surrounded by a layer made up of peptidoglycan. These two layers are called the cortex. Finally, there is a coat which is made up of several layers of proteins making it almost completely resistant to most harmful agents.
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