A micro-organism  (or microbe) is an organism that is so small a microscope is needed to see it.

They are usually made from a single cell.

There are three main types of microbe: Bacteria, fungi and viruses
although some microscopic single celled animals like the ‘amoeba’ are sometimes referred to as microbes.

Helpful microbes

  1. Bacteria which help make vinegar, cheese and yoghurt
  2. Bacteria and fungi rot dead organisms and so put nutrients back into the soil for plants to grow.  There are many helpful bacteria in the soil.
  3. Yeast is a kind of fungus. It is used to make bread and beer



Harmful microbes

  1. Bacteria and viruses can cause disease and illness like flu, cholera, tetanus and chicken pox
  2. Bacteria cause tooth decay
  3. Bacteria in some foods can make you ill if the food is not cooked properly


Diseases can be spread several ways:

    • Coughs and sneezes
    • Touching infected people
    • Insect and other animal bites
    • Eating infected food


How you can help:

  • Wash your hands after going to the toilet
  • Cover your  mouth when you cough or sneeze


Fighting disease

In the kitchen

  • Keep food covered
  • Store food in a refrigerator
  • Heat food properly when cooking it
  • Store raw meat away from cooked meat
  • Wash your hands after touching raw meat


At the doctors

  • Vaccinations and antibiotics (like penicillin) are both medicines that help fight microbes