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Advantages and Disadvantages of Bacteria

Bacteria are simple organisms; despite being simple they are useful in many ways animals and plants and also to humans in many ways. The advantages and disadvantages of bacteria are as follows:

Advantages of Bacteria:
  • Bacteria are the only organisms that can fix atmospheric nitrogen. Thus, they are essential to all living forms on earth.
  • Bacteria are the major class of decomposers. They decompose dead plants and animals into their basic elements.
  • Bacteria in the guts of cows and other animals help them breakdown the cellulose of the plants that they feed on.
  • Bacteria are the major reason for causing fermentation of milk into curd and wine into vinegar.
  • In biotechnology bacteria are used in many ways especially to manufacture proteins.
  • Bacteria can be easily modified genetically and are use in gene transfer techniques.
  • Bacteria are advantageous both economically and environmentally as they can occupy a wide variety of habitats and extreme climatic conditions and the bacterial enzymes can function in a wide range of pH and temperature.
  • Bacteria are beneficial to clean up oil spills by the process of bioremediation.
  • Bacteria can degrade a variety of organic compounds and so they can be used in processing waste and bioremediation.
  • Bacteria are also used for bioremediation process of toxic wastes from industries.
  • In chemical industries bacteria are used for production of pure chemicals.
  • In biological pest control, bacteria are used instead of pesticides.
  • Bacteria re bioengineered for the production of proteins like insulin, growth hormones and also antibodies. 
Disadvantages of Bacteria:
  • Bacteria cause diseases and infection.
  • When bacteria enter the host body, it lowers the immune system of the body which makes path to various bacteria into the body.
  • Some bacterial infections like Pneumonia can sometimes cause death.
  • Bacterial infections can breakdown skin and organs. Bacteria can cause diseases in several plants and animals also man, as most of the bacteria have parasitic mode of nutrition.
  • Bacteria produce foul smell due to their decomposing products.
  • Some plant diseases caused by bacteria are fire blight of apples, crown gall disease of crops, etc.
  • Some bacterial diseases in man are diphtheria, leprosy, tetanus, syphilis, plague, cholera, anthrax, etc.
  • Diseases like cholera, dysentery, typhoid  are water borne disease. Plague and tuberculosis are air borne disease, tetanus is contracted by wounds. Syphilis is a bacterial disease caused by sexual contact.