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Bacteria : General Characteristics & Its Economic Importance

Updated on April 18, 2016

Bacteria are the most abundant group of microorganisms in nature. It is found everywhere on the planet,such as hot spring,deep ocean,deserts and even thrive inside our intestine.The term bacterium was given by Ehrenberg.The branch which is deals with bacteria is known as Bacteriology.Unlike many organisms,bacteria have no natural death.

Smallest bacteria: Dialister pneumonsintes

Largest bacteria: Epulopiscium fishelsoni

General Characteristics of Bacteria

  • Bacteria are prokaryotic organisms (Kingdom:Monera), without cell defined organelles like mitochondria,Golgi bodies,Endoplasmic reticulum.,etc
  • Microscopic,unicellular,they may occur singly or aggregations to form colonies.
  • They possess rigid cell wall. Cell wall is made up of peptidoglycan (Mureins) and Lipo polysaccharides.
  • Absence of well defined nucleus.i.e., DNA is not enclosed in a nuclear membrane.
  • Ribosomes are scattered in the cytoplasmic matrix and are of 70S type.
  • The plasma membrane is invaginated to form mesosomes.
  • Most of the bacteria are heterotrophic.Some bacteria are autotrophic, possess bacteriochlorophyll, which is not in plastids.Instead it is found scattered.
  • Motile bacteria possess one or more flagella.
  • The common method of multiplication is binary fission.
  • True sexual reproduction is lacking,but genetic recombination occurs by conjugation ,transformation and transduction.

Shape of Bacteria

1.Cocci- Spherical or ellipsoidal

  • Micrococci- ex:Micrococcus
  • Diplococci ex:Diplococcus pneumoniae
  • Streptococci- ex:Streptococcus
  • Staphylococci- ex:Staphylococcus aurens
  • Tetracocci- ex:Genus Micrococcus often divide in two planes to form square groups of 4 cells called Tetrad
  • Sarcine- ex:Sarcina lutea

2.Bacilllus- Rod shaped ex:Bacillus subtilis

  • Vibrio- ex: Vibrio chlorae

3.Spirillum- Spiral shaped ex:Spirillum volutans

4.Other shapes

  • Mycellium - ex: Streptomyces
  • Pleomorphic- ex: Corynebacterium diphtheriae

Bacteria as decomposers

Soil fertility

  • Nitrifying bacteria –Nitrosomonas & Nitrobacter
  • Ammonifying bacteria
  • Nitrogen fixing type of bacteria-Rhizobium leguminosarum, Clostridium & Azotobacter

Food that use bacteria in their production include

  • Soy sauce-Pediococcus species
  • Cheese-Lactobacillus
  • Vinegar-Acinetobacter species

Bacteria in various industries

Fibre retting

  • Clostridium felsineum & Clostridium pectinovorum

Industrial production of organic compound

  • Acetone & Isopropanol-Clostridium species
  • Acrylic acid & Proplene Glycol- Bacillus species

Bacteria in dairy products

  • Lactic acid bacteria

Bacteria in the production of vitamins

  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B) - Clostridium butylicum
  • Cobalamine (Vitamin B12) -Pseudomonas denitrificans

Bacteria in the production of antibiotics

  • Bacitracin- Bacillus subtilis
  • Aureomycin – Streptomyces species
  • Terramycin – Streptomyces rimosus
  • Streptomycin-Streptomyces griseus

Bacteria in the production of enzymes

  • Streptokinase-Streptococcus pyogenes
  • Proteokinase- Bacillus subtilis
  • Amylase-Bacillus species

Bacteria in the production of Steroids

  • Cornyebacterium & Streptomyces


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      Srinidhi 2 months ago

      Very usefull content

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      ruchika 4 months ago

      easy to understand as well as write

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      Shakeel khan 4 months ago

      Nice and very informative. Thanks

    • profile image

      Roja Alagar 18 months ago

      More useful information ...easy to understand

    • profile image

      jaylord 20 months ago

      just improve.

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      BudhaProtim Nath 20 months ago

      Its helpful and written in a easy way

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      the best platform to read

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      yahaya 2 years ago

      good work

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      benardzyegon 2 years ago

      a fantastic information thanks

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      eversheila 2 years ago

      a very well arranged information which is much helpful to the learners.thanks for provision.

    • profile image

      FREDRICK 2 years ago

      Am glad 4 da in4mation. thanks mo

    • profile image

      priya 2 years ago

      It's very helpful and nice

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      MONISHA 2 years ago


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      Nice, wonderful, good and helpful

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      Ignatus 3 years ago

      It helps at all

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      misbah kanwal 3 years ago

      interesting &useful for students &profesionals

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    • profile image

      ravina 3 years ago

      easy to study

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      Dhruv 3 years ago

      I have learnt many things from this.

      Please post about the diseases caused by bactertia

    • profile image

      betty 3 years ago

      This is a wonderful page for all classes op pple nd not only medics. Thanks it has enlightened me.

    • profile image

      Ritz 3 years ago

      It was really superb and helpful. . .thanks

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      Prisca C. I. 4 years ago

      The informations are very interesting and Educating. Thank u

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      bhakti 4 years ago

      It ws really helpful . .thnx

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      harshi 4 years ago

      thank u fr ur information

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      harshiya 4 years ago

      intrested topic

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      shravan 4 years ago

      its good and worth reading

    • deenahere profile image

      Deena 5 years ago from India


      Thank you for the visit & comment.


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      yodastyle 5 years ago

      this was really well put together. A lot of solid info..thanks!

    • amirashaalan profile image

      amirashaalan 6 years ago from Cairo

      great thanks

    • deenahere profile image

      Deena 6 years ago from India


      Thank you for the visit & comment.

    • Sam9999 profile image

      Sam9999 6 years ago

      Interesting subject!


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