Of all the planets in the universe, the earth is affected the most with any form of climatic or cosmic anomaly. Due to the presence of life on the planet, even the slightest uncertainty leads to a pandemonium. Humans have witnessed various episodes in the past, and the outbreak of viruses and microbes have caused mass destruction and death at certain junctures. Such events are a testament to the chaos created by even the microscopic beings that have the potential to set a scorching flame of morbidity. Although the world has changed a lot after every major event, it was the advancement in modern medicine that got recognized the most. Innovations were popping up in the field with the attack of microorganisms. However, it is not just the gory scenes that define these organisms. Let us look at some of the microorganisms that brought about a change worldwide.
Multicellular organisms were created by cyanobacteria, meaning life was ushered into the world with this organism’s emergence. Only single-celled organisms inhabited the earth since it had an anaerobic atmosphere. The evolution of photosynthetic machinery in cyanobacteria led to the development of oxygen in the earth’s atmosphere. Aerobic metabolism creates eighteen times more energy than anaerobic metabolism, and this generation is the path to life on the planet with support from the presence of oxygen.
Around three-quarters of the potato crops in Ireland were wiped away by the fungus Phytophthora. It led to famine from 1845 to 1852, causing approximately one million deaths. The depletion of the main food resource also resulted in the exodus of a million people. Many of them starved to death while searching for fertile land to start over.
3. Influenza Pandemic
Strains of influenza have caused epidemics at various periods in the history of humanity. The first epidemic recorded was in 412 BCE, but it was officially named after the outbreak in 1357. The influenza was experienced in Asia in 1580, followed by the spread to America, Africa, and Europe. Although all pandemics were tragic, the 1919-1919 outbreak caused a death toll of around 100 million.
4. Bacterial Pneumonia
The influenza virus caused the 1918 pandemic, but most deaths recorded were due to the infection by bacterial pneumonia. The lungs and bronchial tissues were damaged by the influenza virus, leading to the invasion by bacteria through the nose and throat of all the patients.
Sir Alexander Fleming discovered secretions of the mold contaminating his experiment dishes. It was found to be Penicillium notatum, a bacteria capable of causing mass destruction. After Sir Fleming abandoned the study in 1931, Howard Florey and Ernst Chain took over to create the ground-breaking human drug called penicillin. It turned out to be one of the greatest advances in medicine’s history, allowing people from around the world to be treated for various illnesses with antibiotics.