Microorganisms are beneficial to us in many different ways.
Saccharomycescerevisiae is a yeast found on grapes that can be used to make bread, wine, andbeer (fermentation). Scientists are working on developing it into a probiotic.It can also help to treat diarrhea and colitis. Another microbe that is beneficialto our health is Lactobacillus. Lactobacillus are the main organisms in yogurtand they also live in the human gut and vagina. Like S. cerevisiae they canhelp with diarrhea, they also help to relieve milk allergies and can possiblytreat inflammatory bowel diseases.
Bacteriophage is another microbe that has animpact on human health. Phage is a virus that puts its DNA into certainbacterium. Phages have a very specific adhesion factor and only adhere to acertain bacterial strand. Each phage is so specialized to particular bacterialstrands that scientists can use them to identify and classify bacteria (phagetyping). Scientists linked fluorescent dye to the DNA of phages of Salmonella andused them to identify Salmonella species. This is beneficial to us because itcan be used to detect contamination, in our water sources, our food.
Steinernema are microscopic unsegmented roundworms (nematodeworm) that prey on insects. They kill their prey by climbing inside them and releasinga mutualistic bacterial symbiont, Xenorhabdus. Agriculturally they can be usedby farmers to kill insects, without harming their crops or animals likepesticide would. This also benefits humans because we won’t have to handlepoison or worry about contaminating our food with it. Polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) is a storage molecule and energysource for gram-negative bacteria. PHB can have a huge impact on ourenvironment because these molecules are actually rather versatile plastics.
Scientistshave been able to manipulate the bacteria into creating more PHB by deprivingthem of certain essential elements causing them to turn sugar to PHB. Petrochemically made plastic and PHB actually havesimilar properties except PHB is completely biodegradable. Using PHB instead ofpetrochemically produced plastic would reduce the amount of oil we use and impactour environment in a tremendous way.
We can replace the plastic (made by oil)with PHB that way our planet and oceans won’t be filled with plastic that willbe around for hundreds of years.