The Effects of Antibiotics on Bacterial Growth Essay

1370 Words Oct 23rd, 1999 6 Pages
The Effects of Antibiotics on Bacterial Growth

Biology II 1996

Bacteria are the most common and ancient microorganisms on earth. Most bacteria are microscopic, measuring 1 micron in length. However, colonies of bacteria grown in a laboratory petri dish can be seen with the unaided eye.

There are many divisions and classifications of bacteria that assist in identifying them. The first two types of bacteria are archaebacteria and eubacteria. Both groups have common ancestors dating to more than 3 billion years ago. Archaebacteria live in environments where, because of the high temperature, no other life can grow. These environments include hot springs and areas of volcanic activity. They contain lipids but lack certain chemicals
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The most common form of bacteria fighting medicines are antibiotics. Antibiotics carry out the action which their Greek origin suggests: anti meaning against, and bios meaning life. In the early parts of the 20th century, a German chemist,
Paul Ehrlich began experimentation using organic compounds to combat harmful organisms without causing damage to the host. The results of his experimentation began the study and use of antibiotics to fight bacteria.

Antibiotics are classified in various ways. They can be arranged according to the specific action it has on the cell. For example, certain antibiotics attack the cell wall, others concentrate on the cell membrane, but most obstruct protein synthesis. Another form of indexing antibiotics is by their actual chemical structure.

Practically all antibiotics deal with the obstruction of synthesis of the cell wall, proteins, or nucleic acids. Some antibacterials interfere with the messenger RNA, consequently mixing up the bacterial genetic code.

Penicillins act by inhibiting the formation of a cell wall. This antibiotic works most effectively against gram-positive streptococci, staphylococci (e.g. Micrococcus Luteus) as well as certain gram-negative bacteria. Penicillin is usually prescribed to treat syphilis, gonorrhea, meningitis, and anthrax.

Tetracycline inhibits protein synthesis in pathogenic organism. This

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