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Microbiology class, answer for each question in 1 page - Essay Example

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1. Briefly state the role microorganisms play in each of the following: (10 points) a. biological control of pests Microorganisms can be used for controlling pests and hence, can replace chemical pesticides. Some bacteria and viruses, which are pathogenic to insects, are used in pest control…
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Download file to see previous pages Since microbial pesticides are of biological origin, they do not harm the environment. Moreover, unlike chemical pesticides, microbial pesticides do not persist in the environment. b. recycling of elements Microorganisms are responsible for recycling of vital elements. They convert elements from one form to another, making them available for plants and other organisms. They are important constituents of the food chain as they degrade dead animals and plants. They recycle vital elements such as carbon, nitrogen and sulfur across the environment, between soil and the atmosphere. For example, nitrogen-fixing bacteria, nitrifying bacteria and denitrifying bacteria play an important role in the recycling of nitrogen via the nitrogen cycle. c. normal microbiota The term “normal microbiota” refers to those microorganisms that inhabit the body of a host without causing any harm. In fact, normal microbiota are found to be beneficial to their hosts. For example, some normal microbiota produce B vitamins apart from vitamin K. They also protect their host from other harmful microorganisms by preventing their growth. d. sewage treatment Since microorganisms degrade organic matter, they are used for sewage treatment. Microorganisms grow on the organic matter present in sewage and degrade it into simpler by-products such as methane, carbon dioxide, nitrates, ammonia and other inorganic compounds. Thus by cleaning sewage, microbes help in the recycling of water. e. human insulin production Microorganisms such as Escherichia coli are used in recombinant DNA technology to produce human insulin and other products of human origin. Recombinant DNA is produced by inserting human insulin genes in the E. coli genome. This DNA is then transferred into the bacteria for the production of large amounts of human insulin from E. coli. f. vaccine production Vaccines are produced from microorganisms. Disease causing pathogens are rendered inactive and avirulent by chemical or other treatments. These are then injected into animals and humans to induce immunity against them. Apart from attenuated microorganisms, bacterial and viral proteins and polysaccharides are also used to induce immunity. Thus, microorganisms are also used for prophylactic purposes. g. biofilms Biofilms are formed when microorganisms interact with each other, forming layers on other surfaces. By developing biofilms, microorganisms create their own niches almost anywhere. Biofilms make it difficult to eliminate microorganisms as they protect microbial colonies from disinfectants and antibiotics. They are persistent in medical equipment, water pipes, contact lenses etc, and so, pose a threat to human health. 2. Compare and contrast among DNA, RNA and ATP. In your answer, include both structural and functional information. (10 points) Structural similarities between DNA, RNA and ATP: DNA, RNA and ATP have a nitrogenous base attached to a pentose sugar. Furthermore, in all these three molecules, the sugar is linked to a phosphate group. Structural differences between DNA, RNA and ATP: DNA and RNA are polymers of many nucleotides while each ATP molecule is made of a single nucleotide. The pentose sugar in RNA is a ribose while the pentose sugar in DNA is a deoxyribose, lacking an oxygen atom at the 2’ position. The pentose sugar in ATP is also a ribose sugar. Another difference is that while both DNA and RNA contain many nucleotides that have single phosphate groups linked to the phosphate groups of other nucleotides ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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