Bacteria, found everywhere and in everything on earth are unicellular microorganisms that cluster in large groups and are the oldest living life form on the planet. They have no particular size or shape, and can be measured only in nanometers. Bacteria are essential to recycling of nutrients. The human body is replete with bacteria both within and on the skin.
One of the functions of human immune system is to negate the adverse effects of most bacteria. However, some bacteria are able to counteract the immune system resulting in infectious diseases. In the developed world infectious diseases are treated with antibiotics which have given rise to a new ailment namely antibiotic resistance.
Along with yeasts and molds, bacteria are used in the preparation of fermented foods like cheese, soy sauce, pickles, yoghurt etc. Bacteria have the ability to break down certain organic compounds and are used in waste reprocessing, degradation of oil spills and bioremediation of toxic waste. In biological pest control, bacteria have often replaced pesticides especially in organic farming. One of the most important applications of bacteria in the chemical industry is in the production of pure chemicals for pharmaceuticals or agrichemicals.
In the human body, bacteria are an essential aid to digestion and assimilation of foods. A bacterial imbalance in the colon gives rise to several ailments of the digestive system. The ideal bacterial balance is a ratio of 85 percent probiotic (good) bacteria and 15 percent pathogenic. Probiotics also help strengthen the body’s natural immune system. Unfortunately in most people this ratio does not exist.
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