The many ways in which micro-organisms are beneficial to humanity

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Introduction

Micro-organisms are microscopic (Microorganisms Definition)and can either be prokaryote or eukaryote. Most micro-organisms are unicellular, only a small percentage is multicellular. Micro-organisms encompass a large variety of organisms such as: bacteria, viruses, fungi, archaea etc. (Microorganisms)
The first micro-organism was observed by Antonie van Leeuwenhoek around 1673 (Antonie van Leeuwenhoek). Since then, technological advances have enables us to observe and understand micro-organisms in much more detail, it has also allowed us to exploit them for a number of applications. However, many micro-organisms are pathogenic (i.e. disease causing).
In this essay I will describe the many benefits on micro-organisms.
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The nitrogen cycle is the circulation of nitrogen and nitrogen containing compounds in the environment. There are a number of different processes in the nitrogen cycle. (Nester, Anderson, Roberrs, & Nester, 2007)

Nitrogen fixation is where nitrogen gas (N2) is converted into its reduced form ammonia (NH3). This process is carried out by nitrogen-fixing bacteria (diazotrophins). There are no known eukaryotes that fix N2 (Glick, 2010). The ammonia is them reduced to form NH4+, which is then oxidised to NO3-. Nitrifers are the bacteria responsible for this conversion. (Nester, Anderson, Roberrs, & Nester, 2007)

These processes and other processes shows that, without microorganisms, plants would not receive a large majority of its organic matter, therefore the rate of growth would be lower which affects the rate of photosynthesis resulting in less CO2 converted into O2.

Figure 1: Nitrogen cycle (Taken from Google Images)

Biotechnology

Manipulating organism and their components which results in the production of useful products is known as biotechnology (Campbell, et al., 2008). Biotechnology encompasses a number of areas including genetic engineering; gene therapy; production of pharmaceuticals; etc.

Genetic engineering of bacteria involves isolating DNA, cutting the DNA into fragments and introducing that into a host organism (i.e. bacteria)

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