Anywhere in the world

Bacteria live anywhere, even in the most extreme environments where no other form of life could survive. They can be found in the ocean depths, in the desert, in the hot waters of volcanic springs, inside rocks, in the frosty soil of the permafrost and even in environments so acidic they could destroy any other form of life. Many bacterial species live inside or on other organisms as symbionts or parasites. Symbiosis is an association between two or more species, which benefits each component; conversely, in parasitism only one of the members benefits from the association (the parasite), while the other (the host) is damaged by it.
Our body too is inhabited by very many species of bacteria. Every square centimetre of our skin is populated by thousands of bacterial cells that reproduce endlessly. Our gastrointestinal apparatus contains up to 500 different bacterial species, mostly living in the colon.

Special reports

  • 3 November 2014

    Conan the bacterium

    Have you ever leafed through the pages of a book of Guinness World Records? You can find records of all…

  • 5 February 2010

    Extreme bacteria

    Researchers from the Cnr with Bruno D’Argento and...

  • 4 March 2010

    Biotechnological cleaners

    In today’s society, more than 80% of human activities are...

From the Multimedia section

  • life

    Bacteria

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    life

    Bacterial colony

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    life

    Cyanobacteria

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  • life

    Intestinal bacteria

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    life

    Microscopic structure of bacteria

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    life

    Structure bacterium

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  • life

    The growth curve of a bacterial colony

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    life

    Various types of bacteria

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    life

    A zoo in a drop

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Facts

  • Down-pouring bacteria

    It sounds incredible, but recent researches have found that bacteria can cause some atmospheric phenomena...

    High-fashion bacteria

    Some bacteria, the Clostridia, were used to make textile fibres...

    Bacteria as detergents

    Enzymes are proteins produced by the cells of all living organisms...

  • Bacteria as miners

    The ability of chemoautotrophic bacteria to take energy from...

    Bacteria as Sherlock Holmes

    A drop of blood, a fragment of skin or a hair found on the scene of a crime can supply…

    Let’s eat!

    The economic importance of fungi is increased by the “edible” mushrooms...

  • Bio-luminescence

    Many sea animals, including a lot of fish and molluscs that live in the dark in the ocean depths...

    Predator mushroom

    <em>Pleutrotus ostreatus</em> mushroom does not have teeth or claws but it is...

    Decomposing organisms

    The ability to destroy organic matter has been used by man...

  • 13 May 2011

    Down-pouring bacteria

    It sounds incredible, but recent researches have found that bacteria can cause some atmospheric phenomena...

    High-fashion bacteria

    Some bacteria, the Clostridia, were used to make textile fibres...

  • Bacteria as detergents

    Enzymes are proteins produced by the cells of all living organisms...

    Bacteria as miners

    The ability of chemoautotrophic bacteria to take energy from...

  • Bacteria as Sherlock Holmes

    A drop of blood, a fragment of skin or a hair found on the scene of a crime can supply…

    Let’s eat!

    The economic importance of fungi is increased by the “edible” mushrooms...