In my blog about the immune system a while ago I mentioned that bacteria can cause infection, however, they are not all bad and some are vital to gut health!
· Aerobic bacteria - can only grow where there is oxygen.
· Anaerobic bacteria - can only grow where there is no oxygen eg: in the gut. However, this type also includes those that cause tetanus and botulism.
· Facultative anaerobic bacteria - can live with or without oxygen but prefer oxygen. They are usually found in soil and water eg: streptococcus zooepidemicus which causes upper respiratory tract disease.
· Mesophilic bacteria - are responsible for many infections and thrive in moderate temperatures eg: 37°C
Bacteria are extremely small and very few can be seen by the human eye, typically they are between 0.5 and 5 micrometres in length. They also come in different shapes; spherical bacteria are called cocci, rod shaped are called bacilli. There are also spiral shaped bacteria called spirilla and curved ones called vibrio!
· a cell wall
· a plasma membrane, which allows the transfer of some substances in and out
· pili, which are on the outside of the cell and allow it to stick to surfaces
Mutualists are bacteria which form close relationships with other organisms. In humans and horses these types of bacteria are found in the gut (intestines) where they have a number of roles including fermenting some complex carbohydrates. Pathogens are the bacteria which cause disease and infection eg: tetanus, strangles.
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