The Role Of Bacteria In The World

by: Olivia Leach

Coccolithophores vs. Viruses: How do they fight each other off?

When the virus enters the cell, the bacteria will send out a chemical signal. The signal is basically a "it's too late for me, save yourselves" kind of signal sent through the water to the other coccolithophores. As more of them become infected and the signal becomes stronger, the remaining coccolithophores change in their DNA. They change from the white shields on the outside to jagged scales. If that doesn't work, then the coccolithophores just shut down and kill themselves before being infected with the virus. Over time the virus has figured out how to prevent the cell from killing itself and it delays the death for as long as possible and a maximum number of viruses can be created. There are so many coccolithophores dying and shedding their white shield that you can see the dead cells from space. As all of the shield shed and go to the ocean floor, over time they have built up into chalk like particles.
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Why is this "war' important?

These phytoplankton, like coccolithophores, are responsible for half of the oxygen that we consume. With the many viruses slowly wiping out different populations before they rise up again, we can see the need to be informed of this "war" because without these phytoplankton, we may not be alive.

Bacteria in Humans

The human body was once thought to be a self-sufficient island, however in the past decade, scientists have discovered that the human body is not such a neatly self-sufficient island after all. It is more like a complex ecosystem—a social network—containing trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms that inhabit our skin, mouth and intestines.

Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria normally live in the intestines of healthy people and animals and are usually harmless or may cause relatively brief diarrhea. Few particular strains, such as E. coli O157:H7, can cause severe abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea and vomiting.

You can be exposed to E. coli from contaminated water or food — especially raw vegetables and undercooked ground beef. Healthy adults usually recover from infection with E. coli O157:H7 within a week, but young children and older adults can develop a life-threatening form of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

Many of us host a population of E. coli in our gut that aids digestion and protects us from other harmful microbes. They aren't all bad.

Bacteria in our Body, again.

The streptococcus pyogenes is the bacteria responsible for many of the common human diseases seen today, including mild skin infections and sore throats. The bacterium is spherical shaped, growing in chains and existing in the human body where the temperature is right for its growth. The streptococcus pyogenes is responsible for serious conditions such as multiple sepsis, otherwise known as toxic shock syndrome, where the body reacts severely to a protein produced by the bacteria. This type of bacteria responds to penicillin treatment, and is relatively easy to treat in cases where the infection is minor.