Introduction to Beneficial Prokaryotes

Identify common prokaryotes that are beneficial to humans

Fortunately, only a few species of prokaryotes are pathogenic! Prokaryotes also interact with humans and other organisms in a number of ways that are beneficial. For example, prokaryotes are major participants in the carbon and nitrogen cycles. They produce or process nutrients in the digestive tracts of humans and other animals. Prokaryotes are used in the production of some human foods, and also have been recruited for the degradation of hazardous materials. In fact, our life would not be possible without prokaryotes!

What You’ll Learn to Do

  • Explain the need for nitrogen fixation and how it is accomplished
  • Identify foods in which prokaryotes are used in the processing
  • Describe the use of prokaryotes in bioremediation
  • Describe the beneficial effects of bacteria that colonize our skin and digestive tracts

Learning Activities

The learning activities for this section include the following:

  • Nitrogen Fixation
  • Food from Bacteria
  • Bioremediation
  • Microbes and the Human Body
  • Self Check: Beneficial Prokaryotes