Microorganisms are microscopically small living organisms that are mainly bacteria as well as animal protozoa, algae or small fungi. More rarely, viruses are also classified as microorganisms. What all these organisms have in common is that they cannot be seen with the naked eye and that they are usually single-celled organisms. Microorganisms are particularly important for the material cycle. As so-called producers, in the form of microalgae or cyanobacteria, they form the basis of countless food chains. On the other hand, they are also active as decomposers, which means that they convert organic matter into inorganic substances. Microorganisms are therefore of great importance, especially in the nutritional sector.
What forms of microorganisms are there?
One of the most important forms of microorganisms are bacteria. They form one of the three basic domains into which all living organisms are divided. Bacteria are prokaryotes, i.e. living organisms whose DNA is not located in a nucleus separated from the cytoplasm by a double membrane, but rather the DNA lies freely in the cytoplasm. Fungi and archaea are also subsumed under microorganisms. In addition, microalgae and protozoa also play an important role as microorganisms.
Viruses are also sometimes classified as microorganisms, although they do not have an independent metabolism and are therefore mostly not regarded as living organisms.
What are the beneficial microorganisms?
Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that have a favourable influence on the microbiome. Microorganisms are also indispensable in food production.