The Role of Bacteria in the World

What does bacteria do for us?


Bacteria is one of two domains which include prokaryotes. Prokaryotes are unicellular and do not contain a nucleus nor membrane-bound organelles. Bacteria are the most abundant and diverse group of organisms there is, and contribute to more of our world than we would normally believe.

So where are they?

Bacteria live in almost all environments, even in the oceans, soil, and the intestines of humans. Most all surfaces, those that have not been sterilized, are covered in bacteria.

Roles of Bacteria


Cyanobacteria, an important type of bacteria, is thought to be responsible for the addition of oxygen into the Earth's atmosphere, as cyanobacteria contains chlorophyll and practices photosynthesis, which releases oxygen as a by-product.

Ecosystem Services

Bacteria are an essential part to many ecosystem services. For one, bacteria are decomposers, and many break down organic waste and remains and return nutrients to the soil and environment. Bacteria also play a prominent role in both the nitrogen and carbon cycles.

Human Benefits

Not only are bacteria a part of human systems and functions, but humans also use bacteria to create products, biogas, recovering from oil spills and toxic waste, pesticides, and fermenting foods like cheese and yogurt. Bacteria are used to manufacture and produce drugs, such as antibiotics and vaccinations. Even in human gene therapy, bacteria are used.