Do you know that microorganisms are looming over you? From your hands to the device in which you are reading this, millions of microorganisms are stuck to the things around you.
Have no fear, these microorganisms can probably be your best friends. Let us see how some microorganisms are helpful to you and super-friendly.
First, let’s quickly learn about microorganisms.
‘Micro’ means small and ‘organism’ means living thing. As you can guess, microorganisms or microbes are tiny living beings that you can only see with a microscope. Algae, bacteria, and fungi are examples of common microorganisms.
What are friendly microorganisms?
There are a vast varieties of microorganism around us, some are harmful but few microorganisms are useful to us. The list is big and they have many uses. Let’s dig in.
Remember taking a small bowl to your neighbour’s house and asking for little curd? Then, your mother would mix it in boiling milk and keep this mixture overnight. In the morning it becomes thick sour curd. Do you know how this magic happened? The Lactobacillus bacterium in one spoon of curd multiplied into millions of bacteria and turned it into curd.
That is number 1.
Who doesn’t love pizza? The pizza cheese is made by mixing the streptococcus bacteria in milk.
Do you know how Idlis and Bhaturas become so soft and fluffy? The chef adds bacteria to it. This is called Fermentation.
What do you think makes the cakes so good? You thought right, another kind of microorganism. Chefs add yeast, another variety of microorganism, to the cake batter. The yeast multiplies into millions more and releases Carbon Dioxide gas. The cake swells up because of the gas and it becomes soft and fluffy for you to enjoy.
Yeast is also used in the production of alcohol, wine, and vinegar in factories. Have you smelled beer? It smells bad. Because yeast converts the sugar in wheat or rice into alcohol. The process of sugar turning into smelly alcohol is called fermentation.
What does the doctor give you when you are sick? Tablets, capsules, and sometimes injections? These medicines, called antibiotics, are made using fungi and bacteria. Antibiotics fight the disease-causing microorganisms in your body when you have a cold or fever.
Have you got your Covid vaccine yet? Did you get a fever after your vaccine shot? It was because the dead weakened virus in the vaccine produced antibodies in your body. So that your body can fight strongly when the virus attacks. This is why you got smallpox, chickenpox, hepatitis, and polio vaccine in your childhood.
Probiotic curd and milk contain live bacteria that improve your immunity and digestion.
Bifidobacterium helps us lose weight and stay slim.
Cyanobacteria is a biological nitrogen fixer. Wonder how this microbe is useful for plants? It fixes nitrogen in the environment to make ammonia and nutrients for the soil. Microbes increase soil fertility and keep plants away from diseases.
Doesn’t a dead animal smell bad? But, after a few days, the dead animal’s smell goes. Does it become invisible? Yes, but this magic is done by Protozoa and other microbes that decompose dead animals and clean the environment.
Bonus G.K point: Do you know how wastewater is treated? Microbes like fungus and metazoan are mixed with sewage waste. These microorganisms help in treating sewage wastewater.
How did you like this new world around you? It can be difficult to remember the list and uses of friendly microorganisms. But worry not, you can learn the Class 8 Science Biology NCERT chapter Microorganisms: Friends and Foe in a few minutes. Use lesson summary of Class 8 NCERT Science chapter 2. Do quick revision of Class 8 Science CBSE syllabus using online mind maps.
Where can you find Mind MAps? SeekoG gives you mind maps for free.
Also, learn more and more of CBSE Science lessons on the SeekoG learning app.