News tagged with microbes

Related topics: bacteria , proceedings of the national academy of sciences , immune system , microorganisms , fungi

Gut microbes spur development of bowel cancer

It is not only genetics that predispose to bowel cancer; microbes living in the gut help drive the development of intestinal tumors, according to new research in mice published in the March issue of The Jo ...

Mar 03, 2014
popularity 5 / 5 (10) | comments 0

New immune system discovered

(Medical Xpress)—A research team, led by Jeremy Barr, a biology post-doctoral fellow, unveils a new immune system that protects humans and animals from infection.

May 20, 2013
popularity 4.9 / 5 (36) | comments 9 | with audio podcast

Study reveals how melanoma evades chemotherapy

Nitric oxide (NO), a gas with many biological functions in healthy cells, can also help some cancer cells survive chemotherapy. A new study from MIT reveals one way in which this resistance may arise, and ...

Apr 08, 2013
popularity 5 / 5 (1) | comments 0 | with audio podcast

Team discovers how cells distinguish friend from foe

(Medical Xpress)—Researchers at UC Davis have shown how the innate immune system distinguishes between dangerous pathogens and friendly microbes. Like burglars entering a house, hostile bacteria give themselves away by ...

Apr 01, 2013
popularity 4.3 / 5 (3) | comments 0 | with audio podcast

Microorganism

A microorganism (from the Greek: μικρός, mikrós, "small" and ὀργανισμός, organismós, "organism"; also spelled micro organism or micro-organism) or microbe is an organism that is microscopic (usually too small to be seen by the naked human eye). The study of microorganisms is called microbiology, a subject that began with Anton van Leeuwenhoek's discovery of microorganisms in 1675, using a microscope of his own design.

Microorganisms are very diverse; they include bacteria, fungi, archaea, and protists; microscopic plants (called green algae); and animals such as plankton, the planarian and the amoeba. Some microbiologists also include viruses, but others consider these as non-living. Most microorganisms are unicellular (single-celled), but this is not universal, since some multicellular organisms are microscopic, while some unicellular protists and bacteria, like Thiomargarita namibiensis, are macroscopic and visible to the naked eye.

Microorganisms live in all parts of the biosphere where there is liquid water, including soil, hot springs, on the ocean floor, high in the atmosphere and deep inside rocks within the Earth's crust. Microorganisms are critical to nutrient recycling in ecosystems as they act as decomposers. As some microorganisms can fix nitrogen, they are a vital part of the nitrogen cycle, and recent studies indicate that airborne microbes may play a role in precipitation and weather.

Microbes are also exploited by people in biotechnology, both in traditional food and beverage preparation, and in modern technologies based on genetic engineering. However, pathogenic microbes are harmful, since they invade and grow within other organisms, causing diseases that kill millions of people, other animals, and plants.

This text uses material from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA