News tagged with microorganisms

Related topics: microbes , bacteria , proceedings of the national academy of sciences , bacterium , genes

Bestiality linked to penile cancer

(Medical Xpress) -- While there are already laws against such activity in many areas, a new study finds yet another reason to avoid bestiality, or sex with animals. The new study, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, finds ...

Nov 09, 2011
popularity 5 / 5 (6) | comments 16 | with audio podcast report

Possible link between bacterium, colon cancer found

For the first time, a specific microorganism has been found to be associated with human colorectal cancer. In two studies published online today in Genome Research, independent research teams have identified Fusobacterium in col ...

Oct 17, 2011
popularity 5 / 5 (5) | comments 0 | with audio podcast

Researcher creates neurons that light up as they fire

In a scientific first that potentially could shed new light on how signals travel in the brain, how learning alters neural pathways, and might lead to speedier drug development, scientists at Harvard have created genetically-altered ...

Nov 29, 2011
popularity 4.8 / 5 (5) | 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