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(PBS)   Bacteria will: a) make us sick, b) KILL US ALL, or c) make our world cleaner and healthier?   (pbs.org) divider line 21
    More: Unlikely, bacteria, taxon, green fluorescent protein, environmental monitoring, fluorescent protein, chemical test, petri dishes, genetic markers  
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953 clicks; posted to Geek » on 03 Jan 2014 at 1:32 AM (50 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



21 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-01-03 12:25:37 AM  
Well, all of the above.
 
2014-01-03 12:27:55 AM  

simplicimus: Well, all of the above.


Yup. Since they play roles in pretty much every biogeochemical cycle, not to mention being the most abundant lifeforms with the most biochemical innovation of any on the planet, this really should come as no surprise.
 
2014-01-03 01:28:30 AM  
Without them nothing would ever decompose and we'd be neck deep in corpses.
 
2014-01-03 01:51:01 AM  

simplicimus: Well, all of the above.


I was going to say it depends on the type/species of bacteria.
 
2014-01-03 01:54:04 AM  
They make my cheese cheesier.
 
2014-01-03 02:02:45 AM  
For a long time I thought that Swiss cheese had holes in it because some Swiss guy had repeatedly stuck his dick in the cheese. I later learned that it had holes it because of bacteria. Tiny bacteria farting, shiatting and having sex in the cheese, that I put in my mouth
 
2014-01-03 02:13:18 AM  

fusillade762: Without them nothing would ever decompose and we'd be neck deep in corpses.


To be fair, fungi do quite a bit of decomposition as well.
 
2014-01-03 03:14:33 AM  
Bacteria are often very helpful, but viruses are always assholes.

/Got the flu that lead to walking pneumonia
//Sucks to be me
 
2014-01-03 04:44:04 AM  

Prophet of Loss: Bacteria are often very helpful, but viruses are always assholes.


Viruses regulating populations of other organisms in the ocean play a rather large role in maintaining atmospheric oxygen content. Viruses are the most numerous biological entities on the planet and most DNA on the planet is viral DNA. They seem to play fundamental (and not well understood because they've been largely ignored for a long time because they don't fit the arbitrary definition of "alive") in pretty much every living system.
 
2014-01-03 05:49:48 AM  

mamoru:  most DNA on the planet is viral DNA.


RNA?
 
2014-01-03 07:15:28 AM  

nulluspixiusdemonica: mamoru:  most DNA on the planet is viral DNA.

RNA?


That, also. I guess I could say "genetic material" to encompass it all, since the information is the same regardless of which nucleic acid is being used, and there are all kinds of viruses: ssRNA, dsRNA, ssDNA, and dsDNA. The overall point is, according to results from metagenomics studies, viruses are more numerous, abundant, widespread, and diverse than had ever been thought, and though their roles in ecosystems may not yet be well understood, the fact that they are so abundant and rely on living systems for replication suggests that they have rather large and fundamental effects on ecosystems and even the whole biosphere.

As I mentioned above, in ocean ecosystems they seem to have a role in ultimately regulating oxygen production by plankton. Since I enjoy having a breathable atmosphere, I'd consider that a non-asshole-ic thing, thus refuting Prophet of Loss's statement. ;)
 
2014-01-03 07:25:13 AM  

mamoru: As I mentioned above, in ocean ecosystems they seem to have a role in ultimately regulating oxygen production by plankton. Since I enjoy having a breathable atmosphere, I'd consider that a non-asshole-ic thing, thus refuting Prophet of Loss's statement. ;)


I like breathable atmospheres as much as the next guy, but I kind of wonder whether any behavior - even on the part of a virus - that extends humanity's time of screwing things up might be indirectly asshole-ish.
 
2014-01-03 08:02:31 AM  
Subby's profile pic.

i.imgur.com
 
2014-01-03 08:54:38 AM  
Wait til we graduate to the Fungi -- not just 'shrooms and yeast.
 
2014-01-03 09:40:05 AM  

fusillade762: Without them nothing would ever decompose and we'd be neck deep in corpses.


Actually fungi is what is specialized for decomposition.
 
2014-01-03 09:40:52 AM  
Something tells me that subby never leaves his room, bathes in hand sanitizer, and pisses in milk bottles.
 
2014-01-03 09:49:59 AM  

dbirchall: mamoru: As I mentioned above, in ocean ecosystems they seem to have a role in ultimately regulating oxygen production by plankton. Since I enjoy having a breathable atmosphere, I'd consider that a non-asshole-ic thing, thus refuting Prophet of Loss's statement. ;)

I like breathable atmospheres as much as the next guy, but I kind of wonder whether any behavior - even on the part of a virus - that extends humanity's time of screwing things up might be indirectly asshole-ish.


Ah, human guilt. Their is only one cure, you know.
 
2014-01-03 10:51:38 AM  
D) All of the above

/Depends on the bacteria
 
2014-01-03 01:43:04 PM  
Read a sci-fi novel once where, IIRC things didn't decay and one of the main problem their society faced was dealing with all of the trash and dead bodies.

// like think of things that are compostable like apple cores and banana peels ... now imagine that they didn't decay at all.

// population plunged because a reduction in fertilization options reduced the food source. Mofos getting shot over bags of potting soil :P
 
2014-01-03 03:20:35 PM  
There are roughly 10 bacteria cells in a human body for every one human cell. You can pry my bacteria from my cold, dead corpse, which is exactly what you would have left if you did manage to remove all the bacteria.
 
2014-01-04 05:17:20 AM  
don't think of them as bacteria, think of them as biological nanites.
 
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