Characteristics Of Bacteria

What Are the Characteristics of Bacteria?

Characteristics of bacteria are going to be determined by what type of bacteria you are talking about.  Bacteria are very small and it usually consists of one cell.  That is a common characteristic found in each type.  However, each type will often have its own shape.  These may be spherical, rod like or corkscrew in shape.  They may also have similarities that should be considered.  One of these characteristics is that they all have a cell wall and it is covered by a jelly like substance on the surface.  This article is going to examine some of the other characteristics of bacteria in a little more detail.

 

Many of the rod or spiral shaped bacteria are going to have a tail on them that looks like a whip.  They may even have several of them.  These are often called flagella.  They will move these back and fourth in order to move around.  These flagella are attached to the cell wall.  However, the bacteria that do not have these flagella may either move their entire cell bodies back and fourth to move or they may remain stationary.  There are three different characteristics the flagella can take.  The first is called peritrichous.  This means that there are several different flagella that can be found at different locations around the body of the bacteria.  They may also be polar.  Polar flagella is one single flagella that can be found at only one of the bacteria cell poles.  Finally, they can be lophotrichous.  This means that there are numerous flagella that are grouped together and found at one pole of the bacteria.    

As you learn about the characteristics of bacteria you will also hear about fimbriae.  These look like little bristles underneath of a microscope.  They serve the purpose of helping the bacteria attach to other objects.  You will also learn about pili. These kind of remind you of animal whiskers and they are used to help each bacteria exchange different types of information with other bacteria.

Some characteristics of bacteria enable them to create a thick outer wall around themselves.  When they do this, they are able to survive very cold, harsh temperatures.  It is frightening because this can even enable them to withstand radiation.  They can remain in that state for a very long time.  They will stay there until they have better conditions and can begin to move around again.

Understanding all of the different characteristics of bacteria can be very difficult for someone that does not understand how they work.  There are numerous different characteristics and classifications of bacteria, that if you do not work with bacteria on a regular basis, you may be confused and overwhelmed as you attempt to learn.  It is important to understand each different class of bacteria and how each characteristic varies depending on the class.  It may also be a large benefit to have access to a microscope so that you can examine each one in detail.  This is going to help you identify each component much better.

You can always start by identifying the different classes of bacteria.  You can then explore each class individually.  You will be able to compare and contrast all of the characteristics in more detail.  You will be able to identify many similarities as well as the difference that actually exist.  If you are interested in bacteria and the science related to them, you will enjoy exploring this topic in more detail.  There is a wealth of knowledge that can be explored as long as you know where to start.  Utilize the internet and your local library as much as possible.