The Role of Microorganisms in Human Life

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Microorganisms: Beneficial and Harmful

According to Schrezenmeir et al (2001), microorganisms/microbes exist as cell clusters, unicellular or in multicellular form. They are divided into archaea, virus, bacteria, protozoa, fungi, and algae. They are beneficial to life but some can cause harm. Microorganisms are important in maintaining a clean environment. Bacteria and fungi are responsible for recycling through the decay of plant and animal waste (Tlaskalová-Hogenová et al, 2011). They also synthesize nutrient required by plants to grow. In the food industry, microorganisms are used in the production of fermented beverages and foods, for example, yeast, Lactobacillus, and Penicillium (Zilber-Rosenberg et al, 2008).

Applications in Medicine and Agriculture

In the medical sector, viruses and bacteria are used in the production of vaccines to fight illnesses like smallpox. Microorganisms are also used in the artificial production of antibiotics, programmed viruses, human hormones, and insulin (Zilber-Rosenberg et al, 2008). In agriculture, microbes are used in the manufacture of biopesticides and biofertilizers like azotobacter, Bacillus, and Rhizobium (Zilber-Rosenberg et al, 2008). Microbes are also applied as alternate sources of energy like for example the production of biogas, biodiesel, and microbial fuel (Schrezenmeir et al, 2001). They also play a critical role in the management and treatment of industrial and domestic waste.

Role in Human Health and Body

Also, the human body depends on microorganisms. Microbes like gut flora aids in the digestion and regulation of vitamins produced in the body in order to keep the body healthy and strong. Bacteria in the body acts as a defence mechanism since it produces an antibiotic that fights against harmful microorganisms (Tlaskalová-Hogenová et al, 2011). Bacteria help in digestion of food and preparing nutrients required by the body. The nutrients also neutralize toxins that may be present in the digestion system. Foods like yogurt and chocolate introduce microorganisms into the body to facilitate digestion. Microbiota protects inner body surfaces and keeps off pathogens. The presence of microorganisms in the air helps to degrade dead cells released by the human skin. That helps to keep the skin healthy and moisturized (Tlaskalová-Hogenová et al, 2011).


Schrezenmeir, J., & de Vrese, M. (2001). Probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics—approaching a definition–. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 73(2), 361s-364s.

Tlaskalová-Hogenová, H., Štěpánková, R., Kozáková, H., Hudcovic, T., Vannucci, L., Tučková,         L., ... & Klimešová, K. (2011). The role of gut microbiota (commensal bacteria) and the         mucosal barrier in the pathogenesis of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases and       cancer: contribution of germ-free and gnotobiotic animal models of human        diseases. Cellular & molecular immunology, 8(2), 110. Retrieved from:      human-life/

Zilber-Rosenberg, I., & Rosenberg, E. (2008). Role of microorganisms in the evolution of         animals and plants: the hologenome theory of evolution. FEMS microbiology             reviews, 32(5), 723-735. Retrieved from:            microorganisms-10010404.html

August 04, 2023


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