You are on page 1of 28

BIOL 1262

Living organisms I
Microbiology Section:
Topic No. 1- Origin of
life on earth and
introduction to the
prokaryotes
The Origins of Life on Earth
Creation

Spontaneous Generation Theory
 Aristotle-384-322BC

 Panspermia
 Anaxagoras 500 – 428BC; mordern versions by Berzelius (1830s) and others

 Directed Panspermia

Primordial Soup Theory: chemical evolution
 Independently proposed by Oparin (Russian) and Haldane (English) in 1920s



Complexity of a cell
…..could it have originated by chance in
a favourable chemical environment?
History of microorganisms on earth
Primodial soup theory
• Atmosphere contained key
gases required for synthesis of
amino acids
 Ammonia
 Hydrogen
 Methane
 water vapour

• Chemical synthesis of the
amino acids occurred due high
energy activation from UV
radiation and lightning.


Demonstration of chemical
synthesis of amino acids
http://leiwen
wu.tripod.co
m/primordial
s.htm
Methane (CH
4
)
Ammonia (NH
3
)
Water (H
2
O)
Hydrogen (H
2
)

Weakness of Primodial soup theory
 Can the right combination of proteins occur by
chance to give rise to a single cell?

 Evidence to suggest absence of gases required
such as ammonia and methane

 Concentrations may be too dilute to give rise to
any significant amount of organic compounds

Question
 Could cells have originated from viruses?
Nucleic
acid

Capsid
(Protein coat)
Nucleocapsid
Membrane
(sometimes)
Virion
History of microorganisms on earth
 The earliest microorganisms on earth
– Extremophiles

– Chemolithotrophs
 Inorganic compounds for carbon and energy

– Anaerobes

History of microorganisms on earth
 Chemoheterotrophic bacteria then evolved
– Use organic compounds for carbon and energy

 Photosynthetic organisms followed
– Initially anoxygenic with inorganic compounds
such as H
2
S serving as electron donors

– Oxygenic photosynthesis evolved much later
with the adaption to using water as the electron
donor

History of microorganisms on earth
 4,600 - Planet earth formed

 3,500-3,400- Microbial life present, evidenced by stromatolites

 2,800- Cyanobacteria capable of oxygen-evolving photosynthesis

 2,000-1,800- Oxygen begins to accumulate in the atmosphere; evolution of
Eukaryotes

 1,400- Microbial assemblages of relatively large unicells (algae? )

 800-700- Rock deposits containing about 20 different taxa of eukaryotes, including
probable protozoa and filamentous green algae

 640- Oxygen reaches 3% of present atmospheric level

 650-570- The oldest fossils of multicellular animals, including primitive arthropods

 400 onwards- Development of the land flora

 100- Mammals, flowering plants, social insects appear
Millions of years ago
Stramatolites
Cyanobacteria
Classification of life
Bacteria
 Generally single celled microscopic
prokaryote organisms within the
domains eubacteria and
archaebacteria (prokaryotes);
– (Two exceptions just visible to the
naked eye
 Epulopiscium fishelsoni a bacillus-shaped
bacterium that is typically 80 micrometers
(µm) in diameter and 200-600 µm long

 Thiomargarita namibiensis, a sperical
bacterium between 100 and 750 µm in
diameter




Epulopiscium cell
with four paramacia
Thiomargarita
namibiensis
Bacteria
 Reproduce by binary fission;



 Two major groups based on Gram staining
– Gram positive;
– Gram negative;

– (Some Gram indifferent or Gram variable)
Bacteria
 Gram positive cells
Bacteria
 Gram negative cells
Bacteria have variable
morphological features
 Variety of shapes
– Coccus – Spherical
– Bacillus – Rod-shaped
– Spirillium – Spiral-shaped
– Coccobacillus – Short rods (intermediate between coccus
and bacillus)
– Vibrio – Comma-shaped
– Spirochete – Corkscrew-shaped
– Pleomorphic- variable usually because cell wall is
lacking

Bacteria have variable
morphological features
 After cell-division bacteria adopt different cellular
arrangements:
• Diplococci – bacteria remain in pairs after dividing
• Streptococci – bacteria remain attached in a chain-like
pattern. Division along single plane.
• Tetrads – bacteria divide in two planes and remain in groups
of four
• Sarcinae – bacteria divide in three planes and remain in
groups of eight
• Staphyllococci – bacteria divide in multiple (random)planes
and remain in clusters
• Some are filamentous

Bacteria have variable
morphological features
 Filamentous bacteria
Bacterial (eubacterial) phyla
 Proteobacteria
– Gram negative that form several
classes
 α-Proteobacteria
- Rhizobia
- Purple non-sulfur photosynthetic
bacteria

 β-Proteobacteria
- Neisseria gonorrhoeae/ N.
meningitidis

 γ- Proteobacteria
- Enterobacteriaceae- e.g. E. coli,
Salmonella
- Pseudomonads



Bacterial (eubacterial) phyla
 Firmicutes
– Several of Gram positive
classes
– Clostridia e.g. Clostridium botulinum

– Bacilli- e.g. Bacillus and
Staphylococcus

Bacterial (eubacterial) phyla
 Actinobacteria
▪ Filamentous bacteria e.g.
- Streptomyces (antibiotic
producing group)

- Mycobacterium tuberculosis

- Mycobacterium leprae

- Corynebacterium
diphtheriae

- Propionibacterium acnes.
Bacterial (eubacterial) phyla
 Cyanobacteria
 Filamentous photosynthetic bacteria

Archaebacterial phyla
 Methanogens


 Halophiles


 Thermoacidophiles