Microbial Interaction

Introduction image

Microbial interaction is a type of interaction where the microorganisms interact with each other in the ecosystem. The study of microbial interaction in the ecosystem comes under the study of microbial ecology.

Microbial interaction can be positive and negative. In a positive interaction, there is no harm to any of the organisms those which are interacting. But in negative interaction, there is harm to one or both the individuals. In the ecosystem, all the biotic components i.e. living organisms are dependent on each other for the sustenance or survival.

Content: Microbial Interaction

  1. Definition of Microbial Interaction
  2. Types of Microbial Interaction
  3. Conclusion

Definition of Microbial Interaction

Microbial interaction can define as the kind of interaction where the microorganisms of one population interact with the other to establish and maintain the relationship which can be positive or negative. The microbial interaction can occur between the same organisms will refer to as “Intraspecific interaction”. Microbial interaction which occurs between the different organisms will refer to as “Interspecific interaction”.

Types of Microbial Interaction

There are two types of interaction on the basis of effect:

  1. Positive microbial interaction
  2. Negative microbial interaction

Positive interaction

It is the type of interaction, where both the individuals can interact and cooperate with each other to establish a positive relationship for the mutual benefit. In positive interaction, the organisms of two different population can build a consistent, transitory and obligatory relationship.

There are three types of positive interaction like:

types of positive microbial interaction

Mutualism

It is a type of positive interaction where both the microbial population are mutually dependent on each other for their mutual benefit. Therefore, the effect of mutualism is positive for the organisms. Here, both the interacting individuals refer as “Symbionts”. Mutualism is a type of symbiotic relationship, where the two organisms closely live together. Therefore the effect of mutualism is +/+, as a result of an interaction.

 Examples:

  • The interaction between digestive bacteria and human: The digestive bacteria helps in the digestion of food by consuming energy and the human gets help with the process of digestion.
  • An interaction between Trichonympha and Termites: Trichonympha is a protozoan which helps in digestion of cellulose that is present in the wood by getting food and shelter and termites that feed on wood will get benefit by the proper digestion.
  • The interaction between Paramecium and chlorella: Paramecium hosts chlorella within its cytoplasm and chlorella helps paramecium to survive in anaerobic conditions.

Protocooperation

It is very similar to mutualism, but in contrast to mutualism the two interacting species are not dependent on each other i.e. they only interact for the benefit they will get. The organisms involved in Protocooperation does not share obligatory relationship i.e. the organisms are not closely dependent on each other. Therefore the effect of proto-cooperation is +/+, as a result of an interaction.

Examples:

  • The interaction between Desulfovibrio and chromatium: Both Desulfovibrio and chromatium cooperate with each other and participate in the carbon and sulphur cycle.
  • The interaction between nitrogen-fixing bacteria and cellulomonas: Both nitrogen-fixing bacteria and cellulomonas cooperate with each other in the nitrogen cycle.

Commensalism

It is the third type of positive interaction. In commensalism, the one organism which is associated with the other is benefitted which will refer as “Commensal”, while the other organism is neither benefitted nor harmed. Therefore the effect of commensalism is +/0, as a result of an interaction.

Examples:

  • The interaction between Flavobacterium and Legionella pneumophila: Flavobacterium secretes cystine that helps in the survival of Legionella pneumophila in the aquatic habitat. Legionella pneumophila becomes able to live in an aquatic habitat.
  • The interaction between Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter: The Nitrosomonas oxidize ammonia to nitrite and Nitrobacter uses nitrite to get energy and oxidizes it into nitrate.

positive microbial interaction

Negative interaction

It is the type of interaction between the two microbial population, where the organisms interact with each other as a result of which one is benefitted while the other is affected. In negative interaction, one population of organisms either attacks or inhibits the other organisms for the survival and food source.

There are four types of negative interaction like:

types of negative interaction

Competition

It is a type of negative interaction, where two different organisms compete with each other for the same resources. Due to competition for the same resources, there is a limitation of resources by which both the organisms are adversely affected. The competition between the organisms of the same species, refer as “Intraspecific competition” and the competition between the organisms of different species refer as, “Interspecific competition”. Therefore the effect of the competition is -/-, as a result of an interaction.

Examples:

  • The interaction between Paramecium cadatum and Paramecium aurelia: Paramecium cadatum and Paramecium aurelia compete for the same bacteria as a food source.

Parasitism

It is a negative interaction, where one organism is closely dependent and lives upon the other to invade all the nutrients will refer to as “Parasite”. The parasite that attacks the other organism will refer to as “Host”.

In parasitism, the host-parasite relationship is an obligatory interaction where a parasite strongly needs a long interaction for its growth and multiplication. The parasite which lives outside the host cell will refer as “Ectoparasite”. The parasite which lives inside the host cell will refer as “Endoparasite”. In parasitism, one organism i.e. parasite will be benefitted and the host cell will be destroyed. Therefore the effect of parasitism is +/-, as a result of an interaction.

Examples:

The interaction between virus and bacteria: The virus is a parasite which attacks the bacteria as a host.
The interaction between Bdellavibrio and gram-negative bacteria: Bdellavibrio acts as a parasite which attacks the other hosts like gram-negative bacteria.

Ammensalism

It also refers as “Antagonism”. It is a type of negative interaction where one organism produces inhibitory substance for the other. The effect of Ammensalism is one population is either unaffected or benefitted and the other is inhibited. Ammensalism is a type of chemical inhibition. Therefore the effect of predation is 0/-, as a result of an interaction.

Examples:

  • lactic acid is produced by the vaginal tract inhibits the pathogenic species like Candida albicans.
  • Skin microflora produces a fatty acid that prevents the growth of pathogenic bacteria of the skin.
  • Penicillium is a fungus which secretes penicillin which acts as an inhibitory substance for the growth of bacteria.
  • Thiobacillus thiooxidant produces sulphuric acid which inhibits the growth of most of the bacteria by lowering the pH of culture media.

Predation

It is a type of negative interaction, where one organism engulfs and attack the other organism will refer to as “Predator”. The predator that attacks the other organism will refer to as “Prey”. In predation, one organism i.e. predator is benefitted and the other i.e. prey is killed. Therefore the effect of predation is +/-, as a result of an interaction.

Example:

Bdellavibrio and some protozoans are the predators that attack the other bacteria’s.

Negative microbial interaction

Conclusion

Therefore, we can conclude that in an ecosystem all the biotic components like plants, animals and microorganisms are interconnected with each other for the food, resources and survival. The interaction can occur either between the organisms of the same species or different species.

Hence, some organisms cooperate for their mutual benefit and some compete with each other. The result of each interaction could be either negative or positive. The interaction between the two microbial population will definitely produce an effect which can be in one way or reciprocal.

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