A look at bacteriology

The current science of bacteriology includes the study of prokaryotic cells. Bacteria are a group of single-cell microorganisms with a prokaryotic’ cellular structure, which primarily refers to its genetic material and the fact that it is not bound by a membrane, such as would be found in a eukaryotic cell. It is believed that the first types of cells to evolve were prokaryotic cells and bacteria were the only known type of
prokaryotic cells till around 1980.

Bacteria reproduce by a simple asexual process call binary fission. The prokaryotic cell increases in size and then divides to become two cells. It appears that the cell membrane may assist in this coordination of activity by stimulating the DNA to attach itself to a point on the membrane where it is duplicated and eventually split in two after the formation of a septum which divides the cell. The time required for complete cell division is known as the generation
time’ and can be as short as several minutes or as long as several days. Thus several generations can evolve in a rather short time period giving the species a major source of variability of each generation to adapt to new conditions and assurance of survival.

Bacteria are grown in laboratories to study their properties. This work is usually done under sterile conditions to prevent unwanted bacteria growing in unwanted places. The prokaryotic cells can then be identified by their properties such as how they look, what nutrients they can and can’t
grow on, what substances they produce or what temperature they require for growth. The morphology of the bacteria is studied under a microscope to visualize the specimen after it has been properly stained. This staining of the microorganism is done for the purpose of better visualization A Gram-stain is one of the more common stains used for this purpose.

To understand and study bacteria more thoroughly, a classification system was established known as taxonomy or bacterial systematics. Bacteria, traditionally have been identified and classified on the basis of their biochemistry and the conditions which they grow best under, since the basis of their morphology is extremely difficult due to their small and relatively simple shapes, although some exceptions do occur such as the cyanobacteria which have a more unique and complex shape.

The simplicity of the bacterial microorganism provides laboratory models for the study of molecular biology, genetics and physiology of all types of cells including animals and plants. The products of bacteria can be used to increase crop performance, increase plant resistance to disease and cure and prevent some plant diseases. Bacterial products are also used in the creation of antibiotics to help fight infectious disease and are used as components for vaccines.