The Role of Bacteria in the World

by Harli Henderson and Sandy Henderson

Coccolithophores

Coccolithophores are tiny bacteria that are found in oceans everywhere and typically have a white plate as an outer "shield". A virus hijacks the bacteria and heads to the cellular machinery that is used to make more bacteria. When they reach the nucleus, they take over, making more viruses and infecting more coccolithophores. When the coccolithophores get infected, they send out signals, or messages, warning other coccolithophores.


When they receive the message, their "shield" turns into jagged scales. If this doesn't work, the bacteria will then "commit suicide" so that the virus does not replicate it's self. When the coccolithophores die, they create white chalky build up on the surface of the ocean. This is happening everyday and this "war" is so important because coccolithophores are responsible for half of the oxygen on earth. When they grow they take in carbon dioxide, and as they die they release oxygen.

Azotobacter

Azotobacter includes multiple bacteria like Azotobacter vinelandii, Azotobacter chroococcum, etc. It is an important part of soil and it performs a wide range of chemical transformations, including degradation of organic matter, disease suppression, and nutrient transformations inside roots (such as reducing bacteria in the roots).

Acidophilus

Referring to a number of bacteria like Lactobacilus acidophilus, L. casei, L. bulgaricus, etc. Acidophilus is important in human digestion. Placed in a sugar-rich environment, they begin to eat the sugars they find there. They then convert these sugars into various other products, including lactic acid. This leaves a distinct taste and lowers the pH of the food which helps preserve it. Acidophilus can help protect the body against harmful bacteria, parasites, and other organisms. Yogurt is the most well known food that makes use of acidophilus bacterium.