Bacteria are the microscopic single-celled organisms that lack a nucleus and other membrane-bound organelles. Mostly, it consists of a protective cell wall, cell membrane, and a strand of DNA. Most bacteria have flagella whip-like structures that help them in locomotion.
All bacteria reproduce by binary fission. They grow until they split into two new identical cells. Superficially, bacteria appear to be relatively simple forms of life but they are very complex in nature. Bacteria are classified into groups in relation to their basic shapes, modes of nutrition, temperature requirement, etc.
Bacteria can adapt in every type of environment on earth including areas high heat, extreme cold, and high acid or high salt content. Sometimes bacteria lend us a helping hand, while in other cases, bacteria are destructive, causing dangerous diseases. There’s a lot more to these complex organisms and some of them are listed down below.
Some interesting facts about Bacteria
1. Bacteria are contemplated to have been the very first organisms to appear on earth.
Bacteria have been the first organisms to live on Earth. They surfaced about 3 billion years ago in the waters of the first oceans. Bacteria fossils discovered in rocks go back to at least the Devonian Period, and there are strong arguments that bacteria have been present since early Precambrian time, about 3.5 billion years ago.
2. An average desk is said to have 400 times more bacteria compared to a toilet.
Videos have been released showing how a host of bacteria harbour on desk spaces in many countries. It is said that more than two-thirds of office workers are at risk of sickness because of the dirty desks.
3. There are more bacteria in your mouth than the people in this world.
A human mouth contains billions of bacteria, and if you haven’t brushed your teeth lately, then you possibly have more bacteria in your mouth right now than the people living on our planet Earth.
4. The “smell of rain” is caused by a bacterium called actinomycetes.
The earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil is technically called petrichor. Petrichor is usually caused by the secretion of oils by some plants. Geosmin, ozone also contributes as well as our higher nasal sensitivity to the scent of petrichor.
5. Mobile phones have 19 times more bacteria than toilet handles.
It is estimated that on average a mobile phone carries 19 times more potentially harmful germs than a flush handle in a gentlemen’s toilet. Toilet seat when scanned showed up to 221 bright spots where bacteria lurk but a mobile phone had 1,479 on average.
6. When two individuals kiss, they interchange in between 10 million to 1 billion bacteria with each other.
We’ve already established from the above points that our mouth is full of bacteria and when two people engage in a kiss, they exchange from 10 million to 1 billion bacteria approximately. Isn’t that crazy? In just a 12-second kiss, one can exchange around 80 million bacteria with you, so think carefully about that the next time you are in that situation.
7. The chlorine in swimming pools isn’t exactly what causes red eyes.
It’s the chlorine that binds to the bacteria in the water.
Chlorine is put into pools to kill germs and when it comes in contact to urine (which swimmers put into pools); it forms a chemical called chloramine. According to the CDC, that chemical is the reason why your eyes become so irritated, as well as your skin and respiratory tract.
8. Deinococcus radiodurans is the world’s toughest known bacterium.
It is so powerful that it was able to land on the book of Guinness World Records. It was named as the world’s most radiation-resistant life form. It can survive 1.5 million rads of gamma-radiation which is at least a thousand times more it would take to kill a human.
9. Listening to music can create bacteria.
It sounds strange, right? but it’s one hundred per cent true. You might not necessarily think about this, but every single time you put your headphones on to listen to your favourite songs, you’re actually exposing yourself to millions of bacteria that mutate. Listening to music through earphones or headphones for just thirty minutes or one hour a day can multiply the number of bacteria in your ears by 700 times.
10. Scientists have used bacteria from cows to treat the cancer of the bladder.
Cattles that suffer from bovine tuberculosis have samples were taken from them, which are then cultured and weakened in a laboratory. The bacteria that are made as a result are then injected into the urethra of people who are suffering from bladder cancer. This treatment has shown itself to be very effective and has even overshadowed chemotherapy in terms of its ability to manage the disease.
11. New bacteria grow on a kitchen sponge every 20 minutes.
When you wipe the remaining food from your dirty dishes, cutting board, and countertop, any pathogens from your spills can fill up the holes of the damp sponge, which mostly sits at the side of the sink. The sponge hangs out wet and still until the next use, and at that time new bacteria grow at the surprising rate of once every 20 minutes.