Archaebacteria are a type of single-cell prokaryotes microorganism. It was taken out from bacteria kingdom due to significant differences both genetically and biochemically from modern bacteria. Archaebacteria was named from “archae” that means “ancient”.
At the beginning, archaebacteria were thought only living in extreme environments some of which are geysers, oil wells, hot springs, volcanoes, and salt lakes, but later they were also found to live in the normal environment. Archaea are usually mutualist or commensals.
They play major roles in carbon and nitrogen circle on earth. Archaeabacteria was divided into three major groups based on their metabolism types; they are :
- Phototrophs; Energy source from sunlight, carbon source from organic compounds
- Lithotrophs; Energy source from inorganic compounds, carbon source from organic compounds or carbon fixation
- Organotrophs; Energy source from organic compounds, carbon source from organic compounds or carbon fixation
This creature durability to the environment is very high, it can survive high temperatures and anaerobic ecosystems. Archaea can be found inside the human body as human microbiota, they are inside colon, subgingival and vaginal.
Harmful Effects of Kingdom Archaebacteria
There are only a few studies about archaebacteria colonization inside the human body and its impacts on human health. However, researchers agree that it can potentially promote disease.
Here are some harmful effect of kingdom archaebacteria:
1. Producing sulfuric acid
As a sulfolobus, archaea produce a waste product in a form of sulfuric acid in sulfur cycle in the sulfur-rich environment. Even if they release oxidizing sulfur compounds for another organism, this sulfuric acid can contribute to acid mine drainage and environmental damages. A moderate concentration of sulfuric acid can be dangerous upon contact with skin and cause chemical burns.
The accumulated and evaporated sulfuric acid will end up as acid rain. Acid rain can cause deforestation, corrosion of building and waterways acidifying. You may also read: Acid in Water Reaction; Theories; Formula; Experiment
2. Producing marsh gas
Marsh gas is biogas that has methane as their main component. It is usually formed in wetlands such as swamp. Marsh gas is more likely to have unpredictable spontaneous combustion. This will lead to local damage to the environment and ecosystem.
Marsh gas is also called greenhouse gas as it associated with global climate change. This happens due to methane property that will absorb the sun’s heat and warm the atmosphere. You may also read about Health Benefits of Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide
3. Promoting periodontitis
Periodontitis is a condition where tissues surround teeth have inflammation, these tissues are including gum, alveolar bone, and periodontal ligaments. Untreated periodontitis can lead to bad breath, bleeding gum, and tooth loss. There are several studies that associate the presence of methanogenic archaea in human subgingival to the incident of periodontitis. It is suspected to increase the severity of chronic periodontitis.
The organism that plays this role is named M.oralis. It possibly acts as a syntrophic partner for other subgingival flora. This will lead to alteration of flora in subgingival biofilm or plaque and increase their virulence.
Digestive flatulence is gas generated in the stomach. Although it is normal to release some bowel gases by burping or farting, frequent flatulence can cause pain, bloating, and inconvenience. This condition is associated with methanogens due to its metabolic byproduct, methane.
6. Ruminants Belching
Ruminants are estimated to emit 600 liters of methane every day, making them the main contributor to the greenhouse effect. The methane is produced by methanogenic archaea inside animal’s gut and get out by burping. The popularity of beef consumptions leads to expanding of ruminants husbandry. Farmers have tried to reduce the incident of burping by trying alternative foods for the stock. You may also read about Uses of Hydrogen Peroxide
7. Chronic constipation
As archaeal can be found in the human gut, studies found that there a possible connection between methanogen and gut activities. The human gut extremely has low oxygen concentrations, this makes normal gut’s microbiomes are 90% strict anaerobes. People that have lower methane excretion by methanogens, tends to have episodical diarrhea. Meanwhile, as the opposite, methanogens bloom may promote constipation. Untreated constipation will lead to anal fissure, hemorrhoids, and rectal prolapse.
8. Inflammatory bowel disease
M. stadtmanae is an abundant methanogen that depends on acetate as a carbon source. It can be found in human and other mammalian colons. The release of strong pro-inflammatory cytokine that prevalent in inflammatory bowel disease patients is induced by M. stadtmanae.Inflammatory bowel disease is an intestinal disorder caused by a dysregulated immune response to host intestinal microflora that leads to prolonged inflammation of the digestive tract. Patients that have inflammatory bowel disease have increased the risk of colorectal cancer.
The colonization of bacteria that enhances the production of short-chain fatty acid can be increased by methanogens through a syntrophic interaction. The production of short-fatty acid can increase the caloric contribution of the host. This unknown calorie intake will later lead to overweight and obesity. People with excessive body weight is prone to various disease and health condition such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea and asthma. You may also read about Effects of Agricultural Chemicals on Human Health
10. Cardiovascular disease
Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) that is oxidized from trimethylene by M. Luminyensis utilization. Trimethylene is a metabolite product of gut microbiota. TMAO is associated with atherosclerosis in mice. Atherosclerosis is a narrowed down artery due to accumulated plaque, it can result in stroke, artery disease, and kidney problem.
11. Bacterial vaginosis
Methanogenic archaebacteria have been found in vaginas with bacterial vaginosis. Even if it doesn’t do the harm directly, this organism coexists with pathogen cells. Bacterial vaginosis is a bacteria caused infection of the vagina. This condition happens because of the colony alteration of normal vaginal microbiomes. This alteration makes opportunist pathogen to rise up and causing infection.
While most of the disadvantages are caused by methanogenic archaebacteria due to their metabolic product, there are still questionable pathologies on how the rest archaeal groups do harms to the environment and human body.
The Role Archaebacteria in The Environment
Archaebacteria is also known for their major role in the environment, the benefit that carried out by archaeal are :
- Play an important role nitrogen cycle. You may also read: 8 Uses of Nitrogen in Soil for Plants Growth (Nutrient Management)
- Play an important carbon cycle.
- Methane that produced by methanogenic archaeal can be a useful biogas with a proper handling.
- Biomining metal.
- Organic solvent, by using thermophilic archaeal that can synthesize organic compounds.
- Sewage treatments.
- A potential antibiotic (archaeocins).
Meanwhile, that’s all about the harmful effects of kingdom archaebacteria.