Bacteria is a tiny living organism that can be seen only through a microscope which is called microscopic. They are ubiquitous in nature, can reproduce independently, mostly free-living and can be found almost everywhere on planet Earth. Bacteria is one of the 4 types of germs. The other is viruses, fungi and protozoa.
Some kids might think that bacteria are all about the gross stuff and bugs. But they are actually the most important part of our lives. Human’s body holds millions of bacteria. Bacteria live in human’s body, animals and plants in symbiotic and parasitic relationships. Most of them are beneficial for our lives, but some bacteria are also “bad” for us which is the cause of several diseases. Want to know more interesting facts about bacteria for kids? Keep reading for more fascinating facts about bacteria. Kids would love these facts that they’ll be surprised with how powerful this tiny living thing is.
1. Human Will Never Exist Without Bacteria
Oxygen is the most vital thing in a human’s life. We need oxygen to breath, grow, and turn food into energy. Without oxygen, life on planet Earth would become an end. More than half of the oxygen in Earth comes from plants and the ocean.
In school, we are taught that one of the sources of oxygen is from photosynthesis. The photosynthesis itself would not exist without bacteria, which means that the oxygen we breathe is made of that tiny organism. It is cyanobacteria, also known as blue green algae or chloroplast, who conducts photosynthesis using sunshine, water and carbon dioxide to produce carbohydrates and oxygen.
Bacteria also helps us to do metabolism, one of the most important tasks in our body. In simple words, metabolism is a chemical reaction that turns food into energy. Bacteria helps to break down food into energy sources that we need to do everything from growing, moving, and thinking.
2. Our Body Is Full Of Bacteria
Another fascinating fact about bacteria for kids is that a human’s body contains trillions of this tiny living organism. Our body shares almost 39 trillion living microbes. That number is even more than the number of all living humans in the world. They are everywhere in our body, from the face, hair, armpits, foot, gut, all are home to bacteria. The amazing facts about bacteria for kids that various of
But don’t worry. The amazing facts about bacteria for kids is that most of them are there to keep humans alive and become an important part of our body. Some good bacteria such as Staphylococcus and Cutibacterium which present on a healthy scalp, Lactobacillus that helps to reduce acne and redness on skin, also Corynebacteriaceae and Micrococcaceae that can be found on the healthy feet.
3. Chocolate Is An Antibacterial Food
These are the facts about bacteria for kids they’ll love to hear. Some studies found that eating chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can reduce the pathogens of microorganisms or “bad” bacteria that cause gut problems, while also increasing the “good” bacteria or probiotics such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. It’s possible thanks to the polyphenol that is presented in dark chocolate.
Polyphenol is a molecule that is beneficial to manage the blood pressure level and promotes good circulation. Normally, polyphenol is too large to be absorbed by the blood. But the gut can break down this molecule into smaller pieces which will be easily passed into the bloodstream. When it’s absorbed into the body, it helps lessen the inflammation in the cardiovascular system.
4. The Smell After Rain Is Produced By Bacteria
The scent that you smell after it rains is very unique and some bacteria are responsible for that. It’s called actinomycetes that cause the distinctive smells after rain, the same bacteria that also create the earthy taste of water.
Actinomycetes is mainly found in soil and water due to its characteristic which can be terrestrial and aquatic. These bacteria are very important for humans, because agriculture and forests depend on their contribution to the soil. The actinomycetes have a number of functions including decomposition of all organic substances including cellulose, protein fats, polysaccharides, etc.
5. A Single Dollar Bill Holds Thousands Of Bacteria
Do you realize that a single dollar bill carries thousands of types of bacteria? This is the next fact about bacteria for kids that is found based on the result of research where one-dollar bills from a bank in Manhattan carried 3,000 types of bacteria. That’s a large number for the non-living things such as bank notes. The research also suggests that paper money would be one of the ways bacteria pass among people. It shows that money can play a role in bacteria’s spread.
6. Mouth Has A Higher Number Of Bacteria Than The Number Of Living Human
There are more bacteria in our mouth than the number of people in this world, and that’s true! Mouths could have over 20 billion of bacteria in 700 different species, and they can reproduce every five hours. If you haven’t brushed your teeth in 24 hours, the number might have been multiplied to 100 billion.
The good news, most of the bacteria are contributed to protect the mouth and teeth from disease. But a few of them are also the “bad” that cause bad breath, gum disease, and other mouth-related problems. That’s why it’s important to keep your mouth clean by brushing your teeth regularly. Good dental hygiene is beneficial for getting rid of plaque as the main cause of tooth decay and gum disease.
7. Using Hand Dryer Increase Bacteria
Recent studies found that hand dryers can spread bacteria more than using a dry paper towel. The hand dryer in the public restroom might have been contaminated with bacteria that is being pulled from the air. The bacteria that sucked up inside the dryer then dumped on our wet hand after washing the hand.
Then, how is the solution? Is it better to let our hands get wet? The answer is, no. Wet hands are even worse which helps bacteria survive better on them. To avoid picking up bacteria from the hand dryer, you can opt for the paper towel as it’s considered as more hygienic to dry your hand.
8. You Are Eating Bacteria
You must be familiar with yogurt. When you eat yogurt, you’re actually eating bacteria! Yogurt is made when the combination of heated milk with bacteria Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus is left at a warm temperature.
This is the truth, that you eat millions, even billions of bacteria every day. It’s not just presented in yoghurt. The meat you cook, fruit, vegetable, snack, all of them contain bacteria. Don’t worry, not all bacteria are bad for your body. Some of them are good such as lactic acid bacteria in yogurt and cheese which provide nutritional benefits for our body.
9. Not All Bacteria Are Dangerous
Don’t be scared with them, because most bacteria are not dangerous for our body. Instead, many of them are “good” which provides beneficial nutrition and helps in our metabolism. Only a small number of them can make us sick. The “bad” bacteria which cause disease are called pathogens. Some examples of pathogens include pneumonia, tetanus, E. coli and Salmonella which caused food poisoning, etc.
Most bacteria are helpful for the environment and play an important role in Earth’s ecosystem. Some bacteria are useful for photosynthesis which produce oxygen, many of them also needed in agriculture to produce the meat, fruit and vegetables we eat every day. There are even bacteria that help fertilize the soil by providing nitrogen for plants to use when growing.
10. Bacteria Are Presents In Clouds
Can you imagine there are living organisms in clouds, and that is bacteria. The tiny microorganism living in the clouds helps grab the water vapor in the atmosphere to make clouds droplets. The water crystals don’t form spontaneously in the atmosphere. It needs a surface to collect up, where the surface is provided by non-biological material such as tiny dust and airplane exhaust, and biological material including the bacteria.
Those processes will determine what formation of clouds will be formed. It’s the initialization process of clouds whether it will become snow or rainfall.
11. Bacteria Loves Sugar
Another fun fact about bacteria for kids is that they also love sugar. Just like us who love sweet treats, that’s true for bacteria too. Simple sugar or glucose is one of bacteria’s favorite foods. They need glucose in order to be able to grow and divide themselves. When glucose is not correctly processed by bacteria, they can not multiply properly.
If you think the more sugar available the more bacteria can multiply, it could be wrong. Bacteria won’t be able to survive in a condition where there is too-high sugar concentration. Highly concentrated sugar is known as an antibacterial agent and is being used as a preservative. It helps inhibit the growth of bacteria and keep the food preserved for a longer period.
12. Bacteria Are Cannibal
It’s known that several species of bacteria can thrive in extreme environments such as Antarctica and deep-sea oil wells. Some recent studies also published bacteria can also live without food for more than 1000 days.
The other interesting facts about bacteria for kids that we got from the studies is that bacteria can turn into a cannibal. One study picked bacteria from soil and deprived them from all sources of food. After 1000 days, the bacteria were found to still be alive. After doing a further look, it’s found the bacteria that survived eat the remains of other dead bacteria in order to survive.
13. There Are Light-Producing Bacteria
More interesting facts about bacteria for kids that some of them can glow in the dark. It is called the Bioluminescent bacteria that can be found mainly on deep sea water, marine sediments, surface of decomposed fish and the sea animal’s gut.
Currently, scientists have discovered about 25 species of Bioluminescent which live freely or have symbiosis with other sea animals such as Hawaiian Bobtail Squid or terrestrial nematodes. Later if you see a firefly squid that glows in the dark, you’ll know it’s the bacteria that helps them have that ability.
14. They Are Fast Mover
If you think bacteria moves slowly, that’s totally wrong. A bacterium actually can move 100 times its body length. It’s about 10 times faster than a large fish where they’re only able to move 10 times its body length at the same time. Generally, bacteria can reach the speed of 2 to 200 microns per second.
More interesting facts about bacteria for kids are that some of them are able to swim as fast as 50 microns per second. They can also rotate fast, such as the flagella of Spirillum serpens can rotate at a rate of 2,400 rotates per minute while the body rotates at 800 r/min.
15. The Oldest Known Life-Form On Earth
The last surprising fact about bacteria for kids is that they are way older than the first human on Earth. Bacteria are even the oldest known life-form on Earth which has been on the planet for more than 3.5 billion years old.
Bacteria have existed from the very early life history of Earth. The fossil of bacteria discovered in rocks dates from 419.2 million to 358.9 million years ago. They have plenty of time to adapt to the environment and give rise to the various forms of bacteria that still exist.