Asked Sep 14, 2019
How do microbes reduce the effects of oxygen toxicity? Explain how microbial growth patterns relate to oxygen toxicity.

Expert Answer

Step 1

Bacteria need Oxygen for their growth and survival to yield energy like molds, yeast. These organisms are known as aerobic bacteria. There are some bacteria which do not grow in the presence of oxygen such bacteria are known as anaerobic bacteria. The anaerobic bacteria lack certain enzymes which are required for survival in oxygen rich environment and hence they are toxic to oxygen.

Step 2

1. Aerobic organisms survive in oxygen rich environment because they have certain defense system which help in their survival. Whereas other anaerobic bacteria like obligate anaerobes do not have such defense system.

Oxygen products are released during various metabolic activities like superoxide anion produced by reduction of univalent oxygen anion. This molecule is lethal for cell. An enzyme is present in aerobic organisms, superoxide dismutase which convert the superoxide anion into hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and oxygen (ground state) thus overcome oxygen toxicity.

Step 3

The hydrogen peroxide is also toxic to the cell, but the level of toxicity is less as compared to superoxide anion. An enzyme, peroxidase and catalase are present in the organisms which help in removal of hydrogen peroxide from the cell. Catalase uses hydrogen peroxide as an electron acceptor (oxidant) or electron donor (reductant) to change hydrogen peroxide into oxygen (ground-state) and water.

The aer...

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Microbial Nutrition and Growth

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