A research carried out on bacteria has offered information on how the internal compartments in bacterial cells play a vital role in their survival and growth.
These internal compartments are called organelles, which enable bacteria to perform extraordinary actions.
The organelles allow bacteria to photosynthesise in dimly lit environments and break down toxic compounds like rocket fuel. Besides, it helps the microorganism orientate themselves relative to the Earth's magnetic field. Bacteria do it by lining up magnetic iron particles.
Bacteria also perform an interesting function using gas collected within organelles. They control buoyancy to rise or go deeper in water. Owing to this, they get access to light and nutrients for growth and division.
The study was conducted by Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) and it has been published in the journal Nature Reviews Microbiology.
The institute’s Professor Trevor Lithgow and Associate Professor Chris Greening have expressed their views on the subject. The two are experts in bacterial cell biology and physiology.
Professor Lithgow asserted that until recently it was believed that bacteria were simply a bag of enzymes. He added that advancement in nanoscale imaging had “shown that internal compartments -- organelles -- make them very complex."
He stated that scientists are now able to understand the working of bacterial organelles due to cryoelectron microscopy and super-resolution microscopy.
Professor Lithgow laid emphasis on the fact that countering drug-resistant infection is a key challenge for humans. He said that at least 22,000 Australians and 10 million people globally will lose their life every year to infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria.
Associate Professor Greening highlighted the importance of organelles for humans. He divulged they “enable many bacteria to perform functions useful for us, from supporting basic ecosystem function to enabling all sorts of biotechnological advances.”
He, however, also said that a few pathogens make use of organelles to cause disease.