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All About Bacteria Essay

1327 words - 6 pages

NotesBacteria are small, single cells and are the only ones characterized by prokaryotic organization. Too tiny to see with the naked eye, a bacterial cell is usually one of three basic shapes; bacillus, a rod shaped cell; coccus, a spherical cell; or spirillum, a spiral cell. A few kinds of bacteria aggregate into stalked structures or filaments.A bacterium's plasma membrane is encased within a cell wall. Members of the kingdom Eubacteria have a cell wall made of peptidoglycan, a network of polysaccharide molecules linked together with chains of amino acids. Some eubacteria have a cell wall covered with an outer membrane layer made of large molecules called lipopolysaccharides. A ...view middle of the document...

2.Cell sizeMost bacterial cells are about 1 um (upside down h, m) in diameter; most eukaryotic cells are well over 10 times that size.3.MulticellularityAll bacteria are single cells. Some bacteria may stick together in a matrix or may form filaments. However, these formations cannot truly be considered multicellular because the cytoplasm in the cells does not directly interconnect as is the case with many multicellular eukaryotes. Also, the activities of the cells are not specialized.4.ChromosomesBacterial chromosomes consist of a single circular piece of DNA. Eukaryotic chromosomes are linear pieces of DNA that are completely integrated with proteins.5.Cell divisionCell division in bacteria typically takes place by binary fission, a process in which one cell simply pinches into two cells. In eukaryotes, however, microtubules pull chromosomes to opposite poles of the cell during the nuclear division process called mitoses. Afterward the cytoplasm of the eukaryotic cell divides in half, forming two cells.6.FlagellaBacterial flagella are simple structures composed of a single fiber of protein that spins like a corkscrew to move the cell. Eukaryotic flagella are more complex structures made of microtubules that whip back and forth rather than spin. Some bacteria also have shorter, thicker outgrowths called pili that act as docking cables, helping the cell to attach to surfaces or to other cells.7.Metabolic diversityBacteria have many metabolic abilities that eukaryotes lack. For example, bacteria perform several different kinds of anaerobic and aerobic respiration while eukaryotes are aerobic organisms. Unlike eukaryotes, certain bacteria can obtain their energy by oxidizing inorganic compounds such as sulfur. Other bacteria have the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen.Over 4,000 species of bacteria have been named, and undoubtedly many thousands more exist.Bacteria can be classified in several different ways. Classifying bacteria by the different ways in which they obtain energy gives a good general sense of the great diversity among bacteria.Photosynthetic BacteriaMuch of the world's photosynthesis is carried out by bacteria. Photosynthetic bacteria are autotrophs, organisms that obtain their energy from sunlight. They can be classified into four major groups based on the photosynthetic pigments they contain: cyanobacteria, green sulfur bacteria, purple sulfur bacteria, and purple nonsulfur bacteria. Green sulfur and purple sulfur bacteria, are found in anaerobic (oxygen-free) environments. As a source of electrons for photosynthesis they use sulfur compounds such as hydrogen sulfide. Purple nonsulfur bacteria use organic compounds such as acids and carbohydrates for photosynthesis.A considerable number of cyanobacteria, such as Anabaena, are capable of fixing nitrogen. Structures called heterocysts contain enzymes that fix nitrogen gas into ammonia, for use by the growing cell. Cyanobacteria such as Anabaena come the closest to multicellularity...

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