The key differences you need to know about mould, bacteria and viruses and what it means for you.
What Are Microbes?
Microbes refer to a class of “micro-scale” organisms. This refers to single bodies that are too small for us see with the naked eye.
By the same token, we have microbiology, the study of microbes. Examples of microbes include bacteria, fungi, algae, and protozoa.
Unlike living organisms, viruses don’t have many of the same features of living cells. They also replicate in a unique way, which is to infect other living cells, and use the contents and features of the host cell. This makes viruses difficult to classify as microbes. But to keep things simple, the definition of microbes can be broadened to include viruses.
How Do Viruses Differ from Other Microbes?
Microbes include bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Bacterial and fungal cells differ from viruses primarily in terms of their size and how they multiply.
Bacteria and fungi can multiply on inanimate surfaces, such as polymers, coatings, and textiles. When bacteria and fungi cause infections, the illness is usually restricted to a local infection that affects a specific part of the human body.
Viruses are 10-100 times smaller than bacteria and fungi. Viruses reproduce by infecting a living host cell and then multiplying in great numbers. Because of how quickly they multiply and spread, they can cause serious illness.
Table of differences
|Structure||Made of living cells||Made of living cells||Made of noncellular particles|
|Nucleic Acid||Both DNA and RNA||Both DNA and RNA||Either DNA and RNA|
|Growth (increase in size)||Present||Present||Absent|
|Self-Multiplication (increase in number)||Yes||Yes||No, needs to be inside a host cell (ex. animal cells) to use resources for multiplication|
|Beneficial||Yes: environmental nutrient cycling, food production||Yes: environmental nutrient cycling, food production||No: viruses can infect humans, animals, plants, fungi, algae, protozoa, and bacterial cells|
Used in research
|Disease Treatment||Antibiotics||Antibiotics||Antiviral and symptom management|
What do these differences mean for you?
These differences can mean that you may require different types of cleaning products based on what you are trying to kill.
Any questions? Feel free to talk to us about anything you’ve read here.