The Microbe World

What are Microbes?             |              Where Do Microbes Live?

Microbes are everywhere - a largely unseen world of living things that support life processes. "The Microbe World" provides a comprehensive directory of micro-organisms and their activities.
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Algae

Algae are found in fresh and salt water around the world. They can also grow on rocks and trees and in soil when enough water is available.

Most algae are able to make energy from sunlight, like plants do. They produce a large amount of the oxygen we breathe. However, at some stages of their lives, some algae get their nutrients from other living things.

Diatoms are one kind of algae. They have hard shells made out of glass. When they die, these shells sink to the bottom of their watery environments. We mine deposits of these glass shells that formed hundreds of thousands of years ago to make abrasives, shiny road paint and grit in toothpaste. Diatoms come in all sorts of shapes—some are round and others are oval. Some look like leaves and others like fat commas.

Because algae make so much oxygen, these microbes are very helpful. But sometimes certain kinds of algae can also grow in such large numbers that when they suddenly die off en masse, the breaking down of their cells by bacteria destroys the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water, hurting the animals and plants that live there.


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