What Is a Bacterium?

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Although some individuals might switch the terms bacterium and bacteria, note that bacterium is the singular form of “bacteria.” This misconception has seen many budding researchers deem the root cause of an illness to be caused by bacteria when in reality, it’s a “bacterium.” 

In the subsequent paragraphs, we’ll take an insider’s look at bacterium and its plural form — bacteria. 



Bacterium Defined

Simply put, the bacterium can be defined as a living cell made up of cytoplasm — fluid within a cell, except the nucleus. A cell wall and membrane encompass this cytoplasm. Also, bacterium contains cytoplasm DNA in chromosome formation. Although bacterium features just one chromosome, they integrate some other materials known as plasmids.

Since a bacterium’s chromosome is never encased in a nuclear membrane, it’s also described as a prokaryote. Conversely, living organisms bordered by a nuclear membrane are tagged eukaryotes. The bacterium also features ribosomes — molecular particles involved in protein creation.  

A popular scientific misconception is that viruses and bacterium are similar. However, this is untrue as the typical bacterium is more complex and larger than a virus. Another difference to note here is that while antibiotics can expunge bacterium, viruses are resistant. 

Examining the Modern Clinical Verbiage — Bacteria

As we’ve established, bacterium is the singular form of bacteria. While there are many types of bacteria worldwide, there are forms that come to the fore of their popularity in custom protein synthesis and other clinical research techniques. 

They include: 

  • Spherical

Spherical bacteria are ball-shaped and are referred to as cocci. If it’s a bacterium, it’ll be tagged coccus. These bacteria usually comprise the staphylococcus group and are the primary cause of illnesses such as strep throat

  • Rod-Shaped

Bacteria taking a rod-shaped form are tagged bacilli (singular — bacillus). It’s important to note that these bacteria can also adopt a curved shape. Notable rod-shaped bacteria formats include Anthrax or Bacillus Anthracis.

  • Spiral

Also known as spirilla, these bacteria variations featuring tight coils are otherwise referred to as spirochetes. Spiral bacteria cause major illnesses like syphilis, Lyme disease, and leptospirosis. 

spiral bacteria


An Overview of How Bacteria Feed and Replicate

Bacteria are amongst the oldest living organisms on Earth. Within this period, these lifeforms have evolved and created numerous survival strategies. Bacteria dexterity can be seen in their formations. For instance, while some bacteria are decomposers (essential in breaking down organic material), others are photosynthetic. On the flip side, bacteria can also be symbiotic or benefit the host. With bacteria, the possibilities are almost limitless. 

To replicate, bacteria engage in a process known as fusion. This procedure starts from one bacterial cell, conceptualized as the parent. The parent, being an original, duplicates its DNA and grows exponentially by integrating its cellular produce. Afterward, the cell is divided into two, terminating duplicated material and forming daughter cells with 100% semblance. 

Fusion isn’t the only bacteria replication process. For example, other bacterial forms like firmicutes and cyanobacteria can develop similar cell structures via budding. Contrary to fusion, the daughter cell grows as an offshoot of the parent’s cell. Starting small, this cell grows until it attains a similar structure to the parent cell. Afterward, it splits to become a unique lifeform. Note that a similar process is adopted by protein purification services to isolate certain cells. 

Although bacteria replication processes differ, the DNA obtained from daughter cells is similar to the parent cell. Bacteria incorporate DNA variations from their surroundings into their genetics to make the perfect replica. As introduced by the San Diego State University College of Science, this process is tagged horizontal gene transfer

As depicted by most bacterial protein expression services, that horizontal gene transfer occurs in three stages:

  • Transformation: This stage sees bacteria adopt attributes of their environment. 
  • Conjugation: Here, bacteria transmit their genetic structure to another cell. 
  • Transduction: Bacterial viruses, also known as bacteriophages, transfer genes around cells. 

Bacteria and Their Health Benefits: An Unknown Hero, Perhaps?

Despite the negatives surrounding bacteria, these organisms denote some good to humanity. For starters, bacteria come in handy to ferment milk and turn them into yogurt. What’s more? Bacteria live inside our bodies. 

According to a recent report, there are 10x more bacterial cells in our bodies than human cells. Most bacteria exist in the body’s digestive system. While they have a steady stream of nutrient supply from the gut, bacteria come to the fore when breaking down food into smaller bits. 

Despite their benefits, note that certain bacteria forms are harmful. For example, bacteria is the root cause of Cholera — a disease that kills over 95,000 people worldwide yearly. Also, a bacteria variation, E Coli, spread via food and water, can infect an individual and cause food poisoning. 



Major Takeaway

This encompassing article has an agelong lifeform — bacterium and its plural form, bacteria. With numerous types and structures, bacteria is a memorable part of the human race, and it’s no surprise that custom protein expression services like Bosterbio adopt this organism for clinical research that’ll yield benefits in the long run. 

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