Let’s do something fun this week! It’s great to hear about the latest advancements in microbiology, but what about some interesting facts about microorganisms.
The word microorganism is pretty much self-explanatory. They are microscopic (unable to be seen with the naked eye), living, single-cell organisms. Put both of these words together and you have microorganisms. They play a very important role in nature and the support of life. Granted, there are microorganisms that do more harm than good, but for this particular blog entry we will discuss the beneficial characteristics of microorganisms. Certain microorganisms remove toxins from water and soil. You might have heard about a certain species of bacteria that is used to treat oil spills. There are millions upon millions of bacteria that live in our digestive system. They colonize our “gut” and help with digestion and prevent other bad forms of bacteria from growing. As you are reading this, you might be wondering “Yeah, yeah. I know all this already, so where are the interesting facts you mentioned in the beginning?” They are coming! After some research, I was able to find 31 interesting facts about microorganisms.
Here’s the list:
- All of the bacteria in our body collectively weigh about 4 pounds.
- The average office desk has 400 times more bacteria than a toilet.
- There are more bacteria in your mouth than there are people in the world.
- The “smell of rain” is caused by a bacterium called actinomycetes.
- Cell phones have 18 times more bacteria than toilet handles.
- Researchers found 1458 new species of bacteria in belly buttons.
- Body odor is caused by a bacterium that breaks down sweat proteins into acid.
- A clean mouth has between 1000 and 100,000 bacteria on each tooth.
- Chocolate has an anti-bacterial effect on the moth and protects against tooth decay.
- Tap water has a shelf-life of 6 months, after which chlorine dissipates and bacteria start to grow.
- There’s a breed of bacteria that lives in hair spray.
- A dollar bill has 3000 types of bacteria.
- When two people kiss, they exchange between 10 million and 1 billion bacteria.
- Most antibiotics are made from bacteria.
- After two weeks of wear, a pair of jeans will have grown a 1000-strong colony of bacteria on the front, 1500-2500 on the back, and 10,000 on the crotch.
- The strongest creatures on Earth are gonorrhea bacteria. They can pull 100,000 times their own body weight.
- Offices with more male employees have far more bacteria.
- In 2013, a bacterium was found in New Zealand that is resistant to every single antibiotic known.
- Computer keyboards can have more than 200 times more bacteria than a toilet seat.
- New bacteria grow on a kitchen sponge every 20 minutes.
- 20% of office coffee mugs contain fecal bacteria.
- Babies are born with no bacteria in their bodies.
- 15,152 forms of life, most of which are bacteria, have been identified on the New York subway.
- A newly discovered species of rust-eating bacteria could consume the wreck of the Titanic within 20 years.
- Beans increase flatulence because they carry a type of sugar called “oligosaccharides”, which are hard for bacteria to break down, so they release gas in the process.
- Airplane tray tables hold more bacteria than most typical household items.
- Horseshoe crab blood is worth $15,000/liter, due to its ability to detect bacteria.
- The chlorine in swimming pools isn’t what causes red eyes. It is the chlorine binding to the bacteria in the water.
- There are viruses that can infect bacteria.
- It is estimated that a third of the world’s population is infected with tuberculosis bacteria, but most of them are asymptomatic.
- Bacteria have the smallest eyeballs in nature but the largest relative to their size.
I hope you enjoyed these thought-provoking facts about microorganisms. The world of microbiology is definitely an interesting one. In the coming weeks, I will try my best to document something from each of the 5 types of microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi, algae, and protozoa). Tune in next week when we get back to our regular programming.
Disclaimer: “Any opinions stated in this article belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of CSUN faculty/staff. Information contained herein has not been verified by CSUN faculty/staff.”
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