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Useful bacteria What association usually comes to mind when we think about bacteria Most likely at the mention of bacteria we think of germs and of disease and of how we need to sterilize to keep them from harming us Most of us however tend to ignore the fact that although humans do their best each day to cook and sterilize away the tiny micro-organisms known as bacteria there are literally thousands and thousands that surround and affect our lives uniquely every day Were it not for these very useful bacteria the world would definately not be as we see it today for it is upon these essential monerans that every living organism on earth has come to depend Despite the common and valid association of bacteria to deadly germs and disease bacteria also have other very important roles in nature Not only do these tiny organisms help fight desease in humans but they also maintain the fragile balance on earth and are often used in the chemical and mining industries These are just a few of the positive influences that certain bacteria have on the lives of living organisms The largest most significant role in which bacteria are involved is the decomposition of waste materials on earth and in the process the maintaining of a balance in nature Without these saprophytic bacteria the remains of dead organisms and plants would not decay and the waste would accumulate so fast that it would soon interfere with the life of new generations After breaking down the compounds found in organic waste materials into simpler substances the bacteria also enrich the soil by returning these minerals to it rendering it useful once again for plants and animals During this natural recycling process the saprophytic bacteria release carbon dioxide into the air which is an essential substance for the growth of plants and consequently for the survival of all living things Although bacteria are known
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