There’s an important role of bacteria in industries; namely the healthcare, food, and agriculture industries; with companies and scientists taking advantage of the natural metabolic capabilities and properties that these bacteria possess. Healthcare, food, and agricultural industries primarily make use of different bacteria for the purpose of research and development as well as production.
The use of bacteria in these industries is based on the activities of these microorganisms in nature for carrying out different processes including fermentation, and biodegradation, and in the human body in the presence of certain enzymes and underlying disease pathologies.
Here is a detailed description of the role of bacteria in the healthcare, food, and agriculture industries based on their natural functions.
What is the Role of Bacteria in the Healthcare, Food, and Agriculture Industries
1. They Help With the Diagnosis of Disease
The latest advancements and research in genetic science have pointed towards bacteria as useful diagnostic tools for the detection of several conditions including diabetes, cancer, periodontitis, and Crohn’s disease.
Scientists have modified Escherichia coli bacteria genetically to emit light in the presence of a higher amount of glucose or tumors. In one of these experiments, E. coli having the capability of growing certain types of tumors was harvested using probiotics. These bacteria were modified for the production of easily detectable enzymes and given to subjects with liver tumors.
The results of this experiment have revealed that the administration of bacteria in this form changed the urine color and gave off light suggesting that bacteria could be used for the diagnosis of tumors.
Another experiment that used genetically engineered E. coli showed that these organisms could change color even in the presence of glucose. The color change was also noted when the organisms were added to urine containing glucose.
The findings of these studies have provided an understanding of how some bacteria can be used for the diagnosis of disease. Further research is expected to provide better insights into how the activities of bacteria and their effect on the body’s cells and fluids could help in an accurate and early diagnosis of disease.
2. They Help With Packaging in the Food Industry
For example, yeast is the most widely used microorganism in the food industry for the production of yogurt, baked goods, and beverages. Yeasts are a type of fungi.
Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the species of yeast, popularly known as Brewer’s Yeasts, are used for the fermentation of fruit juices. These species are also used for the production of malted cereals, thanks to their ability to produce ethanol. After the fermentation, these products are distilled to separate their contents and produce both alcoholic as well as non-alcoholic beverages.
3. They Assist in Production in the Biotechnology and Agricultural Industries
The biotechnology industry routinely uses bacteria for the production of several biological substances, which are essential for human existence and survival, such as fuel, hormones, enzymes, medicines, nucleic acids, and proteins. The possibilities for the use of bacteria in biotechnology are endless, considering the abundance of the gene reservoirs and their genetic capabilities within the bacterial cells.
The activities of bacteria revealed by several biotechnological experiments have led to the widespread use of these microorganisms for agricultural purposes. An area of biotechnology that is aimed at improving the qualities of crops and plants through genetic engineering has revealed that the introduction of certain genes derived from the bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens into plants could improve their growth substantially. The use of these bacteria can also make the plants more resistant to herbicides, pests, and diseases.
The widespread use of bacteria in healthcare, agricultural, and food industries suggests that these microorganisms play a vital role in sustaining life on the earth. Bacteria can be useful to humans as well as the plant and animal life in various ways. Further research is expected to provide a better understanding of how these microorganisms can be used in other industries as well for improving their efficiency, production capabilities and reduction of waste.