What are microbes?

Micro-organisms (or microbes for short) are tiny creatures. So tiny, that millions of microbes can fit into the eye of a needle.

The majority of microbes are invisible to the bare eye. They can only be seen with a microscope that magnifies their image so we can see them. The Dutchman Anton van Leeuwenhoek was the first to discover microbes in 1676 – using a self-designed microscope. He is considered as the first microbiologist – a person who studies microbes.

Microbes have been around for at least 3,5 million years and they affect every aspect of life on earth. They have an amazing variety of shapes and sizes and can exist in a wide range of habitats from hot springs to the icy wastes of Antarctica and inside the bodies of animals and plants.

Microbes include bacteria, archea, protists, algae, fungi and viruses (Though there is a debate whether viruses are considered living creatures or not.).

Most microbes are harmless or beneficial. Only some microbes damage their host and cause diseases. We call them pathogenic microbes. Any organism can be the victim of pathogenic microbes: other microbes, amphibians, mammals, humans and plants.

Microbes Eat My Food deals with those microbes that attack plants – plants that we want to eat.


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