<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
Types of Symbiotic Relationships
Type Population A Population B
Mutualism Benefitted Benefitted
Amensalism Harmed Unaffected
Commensalism Benefitted Unaffected
Neutralism Unaffected Unaffected
Parasitism Benefitted Harmed

When two species benefit from each other, the symbiosis is called mutualism (or syntropy, or crossfeeding). For example, humans have a mutualistic relationship with the bacterium Bacteroides thetaiotetraiotamicron , which lives in the intestinal tract. B. thetaiotetraiotamicron digests complex polysaccharide plant materials that human digestive enzymes cannot break down, converting them into monosaccharides that can be absorbed by human cells. Humans also have a mutualistic relationship with certain strains of Escherichia coli , another bacterium found in the gut. E. coli relies on intestinal contents for nutrients, and humans derive certain vitamins from E. coli, particularly vitamin K, which is required for the formation of blood clotting factors. (This is only true for some strains of E. coli , however. Other strains are pathogenic and do not have a mutualistic relationship with humans.)

A type of symbiosis in which one population harms another but remains unaffected itself is called amensalism . In the case of bacteria, some amensalist species produce bactericidal substances that kill other species of bacteria. For example, the bacterium Lucilia sericata produces a protein that destroys Staphylococcus aureus , a bacterium commonly found on the surface of the human skin. Too much handwashing can affect this relationship and lead to S. aureus diseases and transmission.

In another type of symbiosis, called commensalism , one organism benefits while the other is unaffected. This occurs when the bacterium Staphylococcus epidermidis uses the dead cells of the human skin as nutrients. Billions of these bacteria live on our skin, but in most cases (especially when our immune system is healthy), we do not react to them in any way.

If neither of the symbiotic organisms is affected in any way, we call this type of symbiosis neutralism . An example of neutralism is the coexistence of metabolically active (vegetating) bacteria and endospores (dormant, metabolically passive bacteria). For example, the bacterium Bacillus anthracis typically forms endospores in soil when conditions are unfavorable. If the soil is warmed and enriched with nutrients, some endospores germinate and remain in symbiosis with other endospores that have not germinated.

A type of symbiosis in which one organism benefits while harming the other is called parasitism . The relationship between humans and many pathogenic prokaryotes can be characterized as parasitic because these organisms invade the body, producing toxic substances or infectious diseases that cause harm. Diseases such as tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, tuberculosis, and leprosy all arise from interactions between bacteria and humans.

Scientists have coined the term microbiome to refer to all prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms that are associated with a certain organism. Within the human microbiome , there are resident microbiota and transient microbiota . The resident microbiota consists of microorganisms that constantly live in or on our bodies. The term transient microbiota refers to microorganisms that are only temporarily found in the human body, and these may include pathogenic microorganisms. Hygiene and diet can alter both the resident and transient microbiota.

Questions & Answers

numerical and molecular taxanomy
Dhanshri Reply
full life cycle of plasmodium parasite
Emmah Reply
what are ways of handling sharps
namugenyi Reply
never recap or bend a sharp objects
benita
describe the process of platelet formation
Joy Reply
what is parasitic helminths
Sadiya Reply
list three categories of symbiotic relationships.
mary Reply
parasitis,mutualism and comensalism.
mary
what's the difference between microbial intoxication and infectious diseases
dranimva Reply
microbial intoxication results when a person ingests a toxin or a poisonous substance that has been produced by a microbe while infectious disease results when a pathogen colonize the body and subsequently cause disease.
mary
weighing balance is needed in lab of microbiology for weighing?
amna Reply
It is mainly used for media preparation and product testing purpose.
Nakaweesi
thank you for your joining
nuur
what is microbiology
Shamsuddeen Reply
study of living organisms that are too small to be visible with naked eye
Marah
yes
Ahmed
microbiology is the study of microscopic organisms, either unicellular(single cell), multicellular( cell colony), or acellular (lacking cell).
munachimso
Microbiology is the study of microorganisms that cannot be seen with the necked eyes but by the help of microscope.
Fuseini
is the word Atypical or a typical bacteria. .am confused pliz help
MUWANGUZI Reply
typical bacteria
Zulpha
okay thank you what does that mean
MUWANGUZI
atypical means that it has some characters from bacteria not all characters ...but tybical means that it has all the characters that bacteria have
Reham
thank you Zulpha
MUWANGUZI
some examples please
MUWANGUZI
thank you Reham
MUWANGUZI
1) typical bacteria contain a cell wall whereas atypical bacteria usually do not contain a cell . 2) typical bacteria can be either Gram-positive or Gram-negative while atypical bacteria remain colorless with Gram staining. 3) cells of typical bacteria are large ,while cells of the atypical small
Marah
Example of atypical : Mycoplasma pneumoniae , chlamydophila pneumoniae , legionella
Marah
what is micro biology
Jauharah Reply
is the study of organisms which can't be viewed by our necked eyes
Egumat
Because it preexisting causing secondary infection after collateral damage of normal microbota
Rafaa Reply
combinations of drugs that can't be taken together and why
Grace Reply
Antagonism: the combined action is less than that of the more effective agent when used alone). All these effects may be observed in vitro (particularly in terms of bactericidal rate) and in vivo والله اعلم
Lenovo
....fermentros have 1-15litre capacity
AMAR Reply
which of the following microorganisms are classified as eukaryotic?
Semugab Reply
how do I see the list?
Melissa
what are the choices?
Melissa
dear tell us the choices
MUWANGUZI
mr semugab give us the list please
Nambi
Fungi
munachimso
Practice MCQ 3

Get Jobilize Job Search Mobile App in your pocket Now!

Get it on Google Play Download on the App Store Now




Source:  OpenStax, Microbiology. OpenStax CNX. Nov 01, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12087/1.4
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Microbiology' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask