Health

Adopt a diet that's good for your gut

(HealthDay)—Having "friendly" bacteria in your digestive system is important for good health. They help the body extract nutrients from food, and boost the immune system in the fight against inflammation and many diseases ...

Obstetrics & gynaecology

New evidence supports the presence of microbes in the placenta

Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine previously found evidence that the placenta harbors a sparse but still present community of microorganisms, which they and other researchers speculate may contribute to key functions ...

Immunology

Gut microbes associated with temperament traits in children

Scientists in the FinnBrain research project of the University of Turku discovered that the gut microbes of a 2.5-month-old infant are associated with the temperament traits manifested at six months of age. Temperament describes ...

Obstetrics & gynaecology

Maternal microbes mediate diet-derived damage

New research in The Journal of Physiology has found, using a mouse model, that microbes in the maternal intestine may contribute to impairment of the gut barrier during pregnancy.

Health

A dust-up: Microbes interact with harmful chemicals in dust

The dust that settles throughout our homes and offices almost always contains bits of chemicals that can cause problems for the human endocrine system, scientists say. But a new study indicates that the microbes we track ...

Medications

Antibiotic resistance across Wisconsin revealed by new maps

When a patient arrives at a hospital with an infection, her doctor must decide which antibiotic might have the best chance of curing her—no easy feat when disease-causing pathogens are increasingly resistant to multiple ...

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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.

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