Microbes are everywhere in the biosphere, and their presence invariably affects the environment in that they are growing. There is no naturally-occurring organic compound that cannot be degraded by some microbe, although some synthetic compounds such as Teflon, Styrofoam, plastics, insecticides and pesticides are broken down slowly or not at all. Waste management, whether in compost, landfills or sewage treatment facilities, exploits the activities of microbes1. Microbes use specific enzymes to convert wasted organic material into smaller products such as acids and CO2. Microbes also participate in symbiotic relationships with the vast majority of animals and plants2. These relationships are essential for the survival or thriving of all higher forms of life3. For example, bacteria and other microbes in the intestines of animals and insects digest nutrients and produce vitamins and growth factors4. In the plant world, leguminous plants (peas, beans, clover, alfalfa, etc.) live in intimate associations with bacteria that extract nitrogen from the atmosphere and supply it to the plant for growth5. Microbes in the rumen (fore-stomach) of cows, sheep and other ruminants are responsible for the initial digestion of grass (primarily cellulose), and they provide not only a source of energy for their host, but also a source of protein and vitamins6.
Microbes such as Lactobacillus7, Bifidobacterium8and many more3 normally live in association with humans on various surfaces of the body are called the microbiome, The microbiome is known to protect the hosts from infections, and otherwise promote nutrition and health3. Antibiotics are substances produced by microorganisms that kill or inhibit other microbes and are used in the treatment of infectious disease. Antibiotics are produced in nature by molds such as Penicillium and bacteria such as Streptomyces griseus9 and Bacillus10 species. Vaccines are substances derived from microorganisms used to protect against infection and/or disease. Components of disease-causing microbes are usually used to make vaccines. Thus, a less toxic formulation of the diphtheria toxin (called toxoid) is used to immunize against diphtheria, and parts of Bordetella pertussis cells are used to vaccinate against pertussis (whooping cough). The use of vaccines such as smallpox, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough has led to the virtual elimination of these diseases in regions of the world where the vaccines have been deployed.
The primary harmful effects of microbes upon our civilization are; disease in animals and crops, and spoilage and decomposition of our foods, textiles, and dwellings.
Microbes causing infectious disease in animals or plants are called pathogens. Four groups of microbes contain pathogens: bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses. Historically, infectious diseases are the most significant cause of death in humans. Until the beginning of the Twentieth Century, smallpox, caused by a virus, and malaria, caused by a protozoan were the most notorious killers. Malaria still wreaks havoc in lower-income countries, killing an estimated 409,000 people in 201911. Bacteria, too, have been the cause of some of the deadliest diseases and widespread epidemics of human civilization. Bacterial diseases such as tuberculosis, typhus, plague, diphtheria, typhoid fever, cholera, dysentery and pneumonia have taken a huge toll on humanity. Deaths from infectious diseases declined markedly in the United States during the 20th century. This contributed to the nearly 30-year increase in life expectancy during this period.
In 1900, the three leading causes of death were pneumonia, tuberculosis (TB), and diarrhea and enteritis, which (together with diphtheria) caused one third of all deaths12. In 1997, heart disease and cancers accounted for 55% of all deaths, with 4.5% attributable to pneumonia, influenza, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection12. However, one of the most devastating pandemics in human history occurred during the 20th century: the 1918 influenza pandemic that resulted in 20 million deaths, including 500,000 in the United States in less than 1 year. This was more than have died in as short a time during any war or famine in the world. HIV infection, first recognized in 1981, has caused a pandemic that is still in progress, affecting 33 million people and causing an estimated 13.9 million deaths. This illustrates the volatility of infectious disease and the unpredictability of disease emergence and points us to the challenges ahead.
Progress in the 20th century is based on the 19th century discovery of microorganisms as the cause of many serious diseases (e.g., cholera and TB). Water purification, vaccination, and modern antibiotic therapy (all developments in the field of bacteriology) have dramatically reduced the morbidity and the mortality of infectious disease during the Twentieth Century, at least in the developed world where these are acceptable cultural practices. However, many new microbial pathogens have been recognized in the past 30 years and many “old” bacterial pathogens, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Mycobacterium tuberculosis, have emerged with new forms of virulence and new patterns of resistance to antimicrobial agents13. Microbes are also the cause of many diseases in plants, which, in the case of crop plants or forest resources, may have important economic or social consequences.
The factors that allow microbes to accomplish biodegradation and carbon cycling are at work on everything organic, which includes foods and grains stored in granaries, supermarkets, or refrigerators, as well as natural structural materials and textiles used for our shelters and clothing. Nothing lasts forever, and the microbial decomposition of everything organic will occur in time. While fungi and bacteria are the major microbial agents of decomposition and destruction in our environment, they are a very integral part of the ecosystem that cannot be cut out. Is it possible to protect ourselves, our families, our crops, and our homes from harmful microbes without disrupting the surrounding environment? YES. Taking all of the above information in mind, years of additional research, testing, and clinical trials, our scientists have created a solution – Avrika.
Avrika’s unique formula delivers instant, complete, and lasting protection.
By Dana Nanjee
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