Modern cleaning, deodorizing, and water quality control products such as those used in industrial and aquaculture applications often make use of bacteria and enzymes. These products have what could be likened to an identity crisis, as few people are aware of the differences between bacteria and enzymes. A common misconception is that enzymes are bacteria. Obviously, this is not the case but how does one explain the differences between them?
What are Bacteria?
The first images that spring to mind for most people upon hearing the word “bacteria,” generally involve disease or infection. It is a fact that there are some harmful and potentially lethal types of bacteria on the planet, but it is incorrect to consider bacteria entirely harmful. In fact, the vast majority of bacteria on the planet are either harmless or beneficial. The term “bacteria,” is used to collectively describe a wide range of single celled microorganisms. The fact that bacteria do not contain a nucleus and rarely harbor membrane-bound organelles distinguishes bacteria from other microorganisms and from human and animal cells. It might be surprising to learn that in a human, bacterial cells outnumber human cells by a ratio of ten to one.
Bacteria exist in all environments on earth, including environments as extreme as hot springs, the polar ice caps, radioactive waste, seawater and deep within the earth’s crust. While a great deal of study is devoted to bacteria, much of the focus has been on either of the two extremes, harmful pathogens and useful bacteria. The vast majority of bacteria remain unclassified and unexamined.