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Ch 5: Microorganisms and the Environment

About This Chapter

Watch engaging and concise video lessons and learn about microbial drinking water contamination, nitrogen fixation, thermophiles and more. Take the self-assessment quizzes to test your knowledge of microorganisms and the enviroment.

Microorganisms and the Environment - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Lessons in this chapter can introduce you to the diversity of the singular and multicellular organisms found in our soil, air and water. Instructors explain the roles microorganisms play in regulating our environment and show you how some bacteria contribute to the production of proteins in plants and animals. After completing this chapter, you should be able to identify:

  • Types of bacteria found in anaerobic environments and deepwater ecosystems
  • The role of bacteria in the nitrogen cycle
  • The impact of environmental imbalances in nitrogen-fixing bacteria
  • Sources of drinking water contamination

Video Objective
The Nitrogen Cycle, Acid Rain and Fossil Fuels Discusses nitrification and denitrification as well as the causes and effects of acid rain and the eutrophication of bodies of water
Nitrogen Fixation: Significance to Plants and Humans Explains how different types of bacteria, such as Rhizobium and cyanobacteria, turn atmospheric nitrogen into a usable form
Types of Bacteria Found in Anaerobic Environments Identifies the types of bacteria found in anaerobic environments, such as methanogens and acetogens
Bacteria that Live in Deepwater Vent Ecosystems Describes the energy sources used by bacteria living in deepwater vent ecosystems
Thermus Aquaticus and Other Thermophiles: Definition & Examples Discusses Thermus Aquaticus and thermophiles in general as well as how this organism was used to isolate Taq (thermostable DNA polymerase), which led to widespread use of PCR
Microbial Contamination in Drinking Water: Sources & Control Outlines different types of microbial drinking water contamination, both bacterial and protozoan, and describes how it is tested

6 Lessons in Chapter 5: Microorganisms and the Environment
Nitrogen Fixation: Significance to Plants and Humans

1. Nitrogen Fixation: Significance to Plants and Humans

Almost 80% of our atmosphere is nitrogen, but we can't use it. We will look at how this unusable nitrogen is converted into a form we can use and why nitrogen is important to plants and humans.

The Nitrogen Cycle, Acid Rain and Fossil Fuels

2. The Nitrogen Cycle, Acid Rain and Fossil Fuels

Do you know the difference between nitrite and nitrate? Do you have any clue how all the nitrogen in the atmosphere becomes usable? If you can't answer these questions, then you need to watch this lesson on the nitrogen cycle.

Types of Bacteria Found in Anaerobic Environments

3. Types of Bacteria Found in Anaerobic Environments

This lesson will focus in on the world of anaerobes. We'll discuss the different types of anaerobes that abound on this planet, including obligate, facultative and aerotolerant anaerobes.

Bacteria that Live in Deepwater Vent Ecosystems

4. Bacteria that Live in Deepwater Vent Ecosystems

In this lesson, we will talk about hydrothermal vents, what they are, and what they release. We'll also look into why the substances they release are important for bacteria and higher life forms such as crabs and tubeworms.

Thermus Aquaticus and Other Thermophiles: Definition & Examples

5. Thermus Aquaticus and Other Thermophiles: Definition & Examples

This lesson will go into some very interesting creatures known as thermophiles. We will discuss exotic sounding names such as Strain 121 and Thermus aquaticus and how they revolutionized our thought process and technology.

Microbial Contamination in Drinking Water: Sources & Control

6. Microbial Contamination in Drinking Water: Sources & Control

This lesson will discuss what microbes may contaminate drinking water, what problems they may cause you, how we can test for them, and how we can control them. Find out as we look into coliform bacteria, giardia, and noroviruses.

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