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.
- Bacteria which help make vinegar, cheese and yoghurt
- 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.
- Yeast is a kind of fungus. It is used to make bread and beer
- Bacteria and viruses can cause disease and illness like flu, cholera, tetanus and chicken pox
- Bacteria cause tooth decay
- 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
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