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L1 Micro-organisms

Level 1 NCEA Micro-organisms definitions

ACQUIRED IMMUNITY Immunity that develops after some contact with the micro-organism either through vaccination or natural exposure.
AEROBIC A form of respiration requiring oxygen in which energy-rich compounds (eg carbohydrates, fats) are broken down to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the form of energy made available to cells for metabolic and catabolic reactions.
AGAR Polysaccharide extracted from seaweed used to set culture media into a gel
ANAEROBE An organism such as Tetanus bacterium that doesn’t need oxygen for respiration. A strict anaerobe is actually poisoned by oxygen.
ANAEROBIC Respiration that occurs in the cytoplasm in the absence of oxygen; may include the breakdown of energy rich compound (creatine phosphate) to make ATP but most anaerobic respiration involves glycolysis resulting in breakdown of glucose to pyruvic acid.
ANTIBIOTIC a substance produced by a living micro-organism which kills or inhibits the growth of another micro-organism eg penicillin produced by fungi (white part of bread mould), stops some bacteria growing and reproducing. It is taken internally.
ANTIBODY Protein made by the immune system in response to an antigen. The antibody binds with the antigen and inactivates it.
ANTIGEN Foreign substance (usually a protein in the toxin of the invading microbe) that can stimulate the immune system to produce white blood cells to attack it.
ANTISEPTIC a mild chemical that kills or inhibits the growth of some micro-organisms. Often used on skin, in mouthwashes etc. eg Savlon. H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) and ethanol are common components of antiseptics to treat mild wounds.
BACTERIA A unicellular micro-organism with a protein coat surrounding its cell wall which is outside the cell membrane. (singular = bacterium). Reproduces using binary fission and feeds using extra-cellular digestion.
BINARY FISSION Method of reproduction where a cell makes a copy and splits into two.
DISINFECTANT stronger chemical to destroy (kill) or inhibit microbial growth – used on non-living surfaces eg toilet and walls etc eg bleach, Jeyes and Detol.
ENZYME a protein molecule that acts as a biological catalyst speeding up a chemical reaction by lowering the activation energy required for the reaction. Often name ends in –ase eg lipase, lactase.
EXTRACELLULAR DIGESTION the breakdown of large complex organic molecules outside the organism, into smaller, simpler materials, that can be readily absorbed and used by the organism;
FUNGI The largest micro-organism. Varies from one cell (yeast) to multi-cellular organisms (mushroom). Contains a hyphae and sporangia and spreads using spores. Feed through extra-cellular digestion.
HYPHAE plural of hypha: a branched thread-like tubular structure which forms the basic unit of the vegetative growth stage of fungi such as mushrooms, toadstools;
MYCELLIUM the networked mass of hyphae, which make up the bulk of a fungus
IMMUNITY The body’s internal protection system against micro-organisms which can cause disease and disrupt the body’s metabolism.
INATE IMMUNITY Bodily mechanisms that help protect the organism against any disease (non-specific) eg skin; tears.
INOCULATE the introduction of micro-organisms (the inoculum) or cells from a multi-cellular organism into a medium – usually agar.
LYMPHOCYTES White blood cells that are produced by the body for fighting infection. Two types – B and T lymphocytes.
METABOLISM Sum of all physical and chemical processes that take place in a living organism. Can be intra-cellular (in the cytoplasm of a cell) or extra-cellular (outside the cell eg digestive system).
NANOMETRE Unit of very small distance measurement. 1nm = 1/1000mm or 1 billionth of a metre.
PASSIVE IMMUNITY Antibodies made by another organism (eg mother) and passed on to another organism (eg baby). Can be passed on through placenta or breast-milk.
PASTEURISATION A process of heating a substance at a high temperature eg 70oC for a certain length of time eg 10mins, to kill microbes which would otherwise spoil the food.
PATHOGEN a micro-organism that causes disease in the plant or animal it infects.
RESISTANCE Some bacteria mutate (miscopy a nucleotide base on the DNA) and new strains (versions) of that bacteria can develop a resistance to an antibiotic which means it won’t work.
RESPIRATION a process of breaking down glucose using oxygen to produce energy (ATP). Carbon dioxide and water are waste products.
SAPROPHYTE an organism which feeds on dead or decaying matter in the form of organic substances in solution; such organisms play a key role in biodegradation and nutrient recycling.
SPORANGIUM plural sporangia; part of the fungus which produces spores
SPORES A small, usually single celled reproductive body form which a new organism arises when conditions are suitable for germination; spores contain no embryo which distinguishes them from seeds.
TOXIN a poisonous protein produced by bacteria, plants or animals; toxins act as antigens (a substance which triggers the production of an antibody).
VACCINATION Process of inserting dead or live micro-organisms to assist the body’s immune system in developing antibodies to fight that particular micro-organism.
VIRUS The smallest micro-organism which is always pathogenic to its host. Consists of protein coat, DNA or RNA and may have other appendages. Reproduces using the DNA of the host cell.
WHITE BLOOD CELLS Produced by the bone marrow and used to fight infection. Two types – phagocytes and lymphocytes.
Created by: simkar
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