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22.1: Key Terms

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    115128
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    acidophile
    organism with optimal growth pH of three or below
    alkaliphile
    organism with optimal growth pH of nine or above
    ammonification
    process by which ammonia is released during the decomposition of nitrogen-containing organic compounds
    anaerobic
    refers to organisms that grow without oxygen
    anoxic
    without oxygen
    antibiotic
    biological substance that, in low concentration, is antagonistic to the growth of prokaryotes
    biofilm
    microbial community that is held together by a gummy-textured matrix
    biological nitrogen fixation
    conversion of atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia exclusively carried out by prokaryotes
    bioremediation
    use of microbial metabolism to remove pollutants
    biotechnology
    any technological application that uses living organisms, biological systems, or their derivatives to produce or modify other products
    Black Death
    devastating pandemic that is believed to have been an outbreak of bubonic plague caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis
    botulism
    disease produced by the toxin of the anaerobic bacterium Clostridium botulinum
    CA-MRSA
    MRSA acquired in the community rather than in a hospital
    capsule
    external structure that enables a prokaryote to attach to surfaces and protects it from dehydration
    chemotroph
    organism that obtains energy from chemical compounds
    conjugation
    process by which prokaryotes move DNA from one individual to another using a pilus
    cyanobacteria
    bacteria that evolved from early phototrophs and oxygenated the atmosphere; also known as blue-green algae
    decomposer
    organism that carries out the decomposition of dead organisms
    denitrification
    transformation of nitrate from soil to gaseous nitrogen compounds such as N2O, NO, and N2
    emerging disease
    disease making an initial appearance in a population or that is increasing in incidence or geographic range
    endemic disease
    disease that is constantly present, usually at low incidence, in a population
    epidemic
    disease that occurs in an unusually high number of individuals in a population at the same time
    extremophile
    organism that grows under extreme or harsh conditions
    foodborne disease
    any illness resulting from the consumption of contaminated food, or of the pathogenic bacteria, viruses, or other parasites that contaminate food
    Gram negative
    bacterium whose cell wall contains little peptidoglycan but has an outer membrane
    Gram positive
    bacterium that contains mainly peptidoglycan in its cell walls
    halophile
    organism that require a salt concentration of at least 0.2 M
    hydrothermal vent
    fissure in Earth’s surface that releases geothermally heated water
    hyperthermophile
    organism that grows at temperatures between 80–122 °C
    microbial mat
    multi-layered sheet of prokaryotes that may include bacteria and archaea
    MRSA
    (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) very dangerous Staphylococcus aureus strain resistant to multiple antibiotics
    nitrification
    conversion of ammonium into nitrite and nitrate in soils
    nitrogen fixation
    process by which gaseous nitrogen is transformed, or “fixed” into more readily available forms such as ammonia
    nodule
    novel structure on the roots of certain plants (legumes) that results from the symbiotic interaction between the plant and soil bacteria, and is the site of nitrogen fixation
    nutrient
    essential substances for growth, such as carbon and nitrogen
    osmophile
    organism that grows in a high sugar concentration
    pandemic
    widespread, usually worldwide, epidemic disease
    peptidoglycan
    material composed of polysaccharide chains cross-linked to unusual peptides
    phototroph
    organism that is able to make its own food by converting solar energy to chemical energy
    pilus
    surface appendage of some prokaryotes used for attachment to surfaces including other prokaryotes
    pseudopeptidoglycan
    component of archaea cell walls that is similar to peptidoglycan in morphology but contains different sugars
    psychrophile
    organism that grows at temperatures of -15 °C or lower
    radioresistant
    organism that grows in high levels of radiation
    resuscitation
    process by which prokaryotes that are in the VBNC state return to viability
    S-layer
    surface-layer protein present on the outside of cell walls of archaea and bacteria
    serotype
    strain of bacterium that carries a set of similar antigens on its cell surface, often many in a bacterial species
    stromatolite
    layered sedimentary structure formed by precipitation of minerals by prokaryotes in microbial mats
    teichoic acid
    polymer associated with the cell wall of Gram-positive bacteria
    thermophile
    organism that lives at temperatures between 60–80 °C
    transduction
    process by which a bacteriophage moves DNA from one prokaryote to another
    transformation
    process by which a prokaryote takes in DNA found in its environment that is shed by other prokaryotes
    viable-but-non-culturable (VBNC) state
    survival mechanism of bacteria facing environmental stress conditions
    zoonosis
    disease that primarily infects animals that is transmitted to humans

    22.1: Key Terms is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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