Bacterial Ecology

Bacterial ecology is defined as the interaction between bacteria and with their environment. Bacterial ecology is concerned with the interactions between bacteria and their biological and nonbiological environments and with the role of bacteria in biogeochemical element cycling. Many fundamental properties of bacteria are consequences of their small size. Thus, they can efficiently exploit very dilute solutions of organic matter and their potential growth rates are very high. Bacteria do not have a cytoskeleton and they are covered by a rigid cells wall. Therefore they can only take up dissolved low‐molecular‐weight compounds from their surroundings; when bacteria exploit polymeric compounds these must first be undergo extracellular hydrolysis. Bacteria have a great diversity with respect to types of metabolism that far exceeds the metabolic repertoire of eukaryotic organisms. Bacteria play a fundamental role in the biosphere and certain key processes such as, for example, the production and oxidation of methane, nitrate reduction and fixation of atmospheric nitrogen are exclusively carried out by different groups of bacteria. Some bacterial species – ‘extremophiles’ – thrive in extreme environments in which no eukaryotic organisms can survive with respect to temperature, salinity or pH. Bacteria play a vital role in the biosphere and certain key processes, such as, the production and oxidation of methane, soil formation, conversion of rock to soil etc.

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