If a person stood up today to tell us that there are a lot of benefits that come from bacteria, he or she may be termed crazy while the truth of the matter is that, some bacteria provide us with a lot of good things. The bacteria responsible for these benefits are known as beneficial bacteria and they happen to belong to different groups and species of bacteria hence each type being able to help us in their own unique way.
One group of bacteria known for its benefits is the group of Rhizobia bacteria. These beneficial bacteria reside inside the soil where root nodules of leguminous plants are. While in this strategic position, the bacteria and the plant exist in a symbiotic mode of living which means they both benefit from each other's presence. As the bacteria feeds on the plant, it uses its enzyme called nitrogenase to convert the atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia compounds. The plant then uses the ammonia compounds to make its own proteins which help it to grow. This process is known as nitrogen fixation. By these plants growing, other living organisms such as humans and animals get to feed on them so as to continue surviving. Therefore, we need to appreciate the Rhizobia bacteria for helping us get food that sustains us.
The Lactobacillis acidophillus are other beneficial bacteria that exist. They belong to the group of facultative anaerobic bacteria meaning, they can survive both in the presence or absence of free oxygen gas. The bacteria are used in industries in order to produce milk products such as yogurt. The Lactobacillis bacteria have the ability to consume refined sugar and convert it into acid. Due to this ability, the Lactobacillis bacteria get to be mixed with the industrial milk and as it consumes some of it, the sugar in the milk known as lactose is also taken in by the bacteria. Acid is then released by the bacteria and in turn, the acid makes the milk sour and in the process, yogurt is produced. So for those of you who enjoy taking yogurt, you have the Lactobacillis acidophillus bacteria to thank for.
Other beneficial bacteria are the gut flora bacteria. These bacteria enter the human body since birth. As the baby is in the process of being born, vaginal bacteria from the mother pass to the baby immediately and occupy the gut area. Other bacteria forming the gut flora enter the body from the environment through activities such as breast feeding. These bacteria help in producing some hormones for the host organism. These hormones are used to direct the host organism to store fat which would can be used later when need arises. Gut flora also train the immune system to recognize which toxins in the body to tolerate and which ones to completely do away with.
Bacteria such as the Total coliforms which live in soil help the environment by decomposing dead animals. Once these animals die and fall on the ground, the Total coliforms together with many other types of bacteria in the soil attack the dead organism and start feeding on some of its molecules. This way, the bacteria help decompose the dead animal. As the bacteria continue with this action, they make it possible for some of the dead animal's molecules to be mixed up with the soil. These molecules help enrich the soil and in turn, plants get nutrients from this soil hence their growth being boosted. As the plants grow up, animals feed on them in order to survive. This will continue until the animal dies and the pattern is repeated all over again. By these bacteria decomposing these dead animals, no carcasses are left lying around on the ground with nothing to do. For this reason, they are believed to be beneficial bacteria.
Wangeci Kinyanjui is an expert on research and reporting on Health Matters for years. To get more information on beneficial bacteria visit her site at BENEFICIAL BACTERIA .