Microbes, which include fungi, bacteria and algae, though usually too small to see with the naked eye, have incredible importance to life. First of all, a type of bacteria called cyanobacteria, which lives in the oceans, is the producer of nearly all Earth’s oxygen. Due to the fact that basically all organic – and even inorganic – compounds found on Earth are comprised of this element and require it for daily functioning, microbes have helped the world as we know it to be created. Microbes “keep the world turning” by recycling nutrients, changing nitrogen gas into the form that can be used by plants, helping animals – including people – digest food, assisting plants’ roots in absorbing nutrients from the soil, protecting plants from diseases, removing dangerous chemicals from environments, functioning as drugs and fighting against other harmful microbes in our bodies. Therefore, microbes serve numerous purposes.
Bacteria also serve an important purpose by aiding in the decomposition of organic (and inorganic!) materials. They go to work in landfills to break down all of the waste humans create, even some thought to be non-biodegradable. It was recently discovered by a teenage boy that a certain bacteria can actually biodegrade plastics. Other bacteria can also be used to break down hazardous material found in detergents and herbicides.
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