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Microbes Described

Diversity. Today you've heard a lot about bacterial mass, including a variety of microbial sizes, shapes and environments in which they live. Oh, here is another thing. I am from Pfizer but honest to God, when you go into the "Microbes" exhibit and you first read about microbes, it says "Germs." Boy, do I hate that because 97% of the microbes or greater aren't pathogens. They're not germs. So microbes don't equal germs. They equal the small creatures. Fortunately for us, only a few of them cause disease in humans. Most of them are in the environment and are absolutely required for life on earth as we know it, okay.

Adaptability. We talked about the hot springs, thermal vents, salt lake. I was talking to Lynn's husband this noontime over lunch. He was doing things with halophilic bacteria, the ones that are growing in the Great Salt Lake and therefore particularly adapted to high salt concentration; these creatures also occur in arctic regions and in deepest part of the ocean depths such as at the bottom of the Philippine trench. The microbes survive in these locations of extreme temperature and pressure because of their toleration to these conditions and their synthetic capabilities. You've heard the term nitrogen fixation. Maybe all of you are very familiar with that. But that's a tremendous synthetic capability. The ability to take nitrogen from the air and make nitrate. Same thing with the purple sulfur bacteria, the organisms that can photosynthesize. Compared to all of these microorganisms, we, as humans organisms, are infants in our capabilities to synthesize needed nutrients. Something to really keep in mind; they're fantastic. As survivors, many people talk about the insects, right? The rats, the cockroach. They're going to be the last creatures to survive. Believe me, I think it's going to be microbes. They far outreach the other creatures in their ability to survive.


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