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Economic importance of bacteria

    The bacteria can be deliberately exploited by humans in a number of beneficial waysHowever some bacteria play harmful roles for example they cause disease and spoil food Thus economic importance of bacteria includes both their useful and harmful aspectsUseful bacteriaMost bacteria are beneficial to mankind and play some economically important roles Some of these useful roles are as under1 Biotechnology and bacteriaBiochemistry is defined as application of organisms such as bacteria fungi and algae to the manufacturing and services industries These include:i) Fermentation processesSuch as brewing baking chees and butter manufacturing chemical manufacturing such as ethanol acetone organic acid enzymes perfumes etcii) PharmaceuticalsLike antibiotics vaccines and steroidsiii) Energy In the form of biogasiv) Food products Such as beverages dairy products amino acids and proteinsv) AgricultureAgriculture industry like animal feed composting processes pesticides nitrogen fixation plant cell and tissue culturevi) Microbial miningThe bacteria and other microorganisms are cultured in container and then used to bring these processes eg copper extraction2 Genetic engineering and bacteriaGenetic engineering is manipulation of genes It is also called recombinant DNA DNA In genetic engineering pieces of DNA (genes) are introduced into a host by means of a carrier (vector) system The foreign DNA becomes a permanent feature of the host being replicated and passed on to daughter cells along with the rest of its DNABacterial cells are transformed and used in production of commercially important products The examples are production of human insulin___ used against diabetes human growth hormone ___ somatotrophin used to treat pituitary dwarfism and infections which can be used to help fight viral diseases3 Role in fibre rettingBacterial population especially that of Clostridium butyclicum are used to separate fibres of jute hemp flax etc the plants are immersed in water and when they swell inoculated with bacteria which hydrolyze pectic substance of the cell walls and separate the fibresThese separated fibres are used to make ropes and sacks4. Role in digestionSome bacteria living in gut of cattles horses and other herbivores secrete enzyme cellulose that helps in digestion cellulose contents of cell wall Cellulose in the major source of energy in these animals5 Vitamins synthesisEscherichia coli living in human colon synthesize vitamin B and release it for human use Similarly Clostridium butyclicum is used for commercial preparation of riboflavin a vitamin B6 Role in waste disposalAerobic ad anaerobic bacteria are used to decompose sewage wastes They break down organic matter to harmless soluble sludge in settling tanks The methane gas produced is used as energy source Similarly toxic chemicals synthesized by living organisms and those present in the pesticides are disposed with the help of bacteriaPseudomonas putida has been created by using genetic engineering technique can break down xylene and camphorHarmful bacteriaSome bacteria are harmful and act either as disease-causing agents (pathogens) both in plants and animals or may play role in food spoilage1 Bacteria as pathogens__Agents of DiseaseOrganisms which cause disease are called pathogens Some bacteria are pathogensSome bacteria are pathogenic and cause diseases both in animals and plants However pathogenic bacteria more commonly affected animals than plantsi) Plant DiseasesAbout 200 spp of bacteria are known to cause diseases in plants These include crown galls of fruit trees(Agrobacterium tumefaciens)fire blight of apples and pears(Erwinia amuylovorum)citrus canker (Xanthomonas citri)black rot of cabbage (Xanthomonas campestris)potato scab(Streptomyces scrabies)and leaf blight of rice (Xanthomonas oryzae)ii) Animal DiseaseImportant diseases of animals include food poisoning of pigs and poultry (Salmonella) anthrax (Bacillus anthracis) and black leg (Clostridium chaubei)Human bacterial diseases include pneumonia (Diplococcus penumonie)wound infections (Streptomycin scabies) stomach trouble (Pseudomonas coli) food poisoning (Clostridium spp) influenza (Hemophilous influenza) typhoid (Eberthella spp) tuberculosis (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) etc 2. Bacteria and Food SpoilageSaprotrophic bacteria attack and decompose organic matter This characteristic has posed problem to mankind as food such as stored grains meant fish vegetable and fruits are attacked by saprotrophic bacteria and spoiled Similarly milk and products are easily contaminated by bacteria and spoiledHussain AliBSc (Hons)Karakuram International UniversityGilgit Pakistan