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NCERT Solutions Class 12 Biology Chapter 8 - Microbes in Human Welfare

Ques 1: Bacteria cannot be seen with the naked eyes, but these can be seen with the help of a microscope. If you have to carry a sample from your home to your biology laboratory to demonstrate the presence of microbes under a microscope, which sample would you carry and why?

Ans: Curd can be used as a sample for the study of microbes. Curd contains numerous lactic acid bacteria (LAB) or Lactobacillus. 

NCERT Solutions Class 12 Biology Chapter 8 - Microbes in Human Welfare

Fig: Lactic acid bacteria

These bacteria produce acids that coagulate and digest milk proteins. A small drop of curd contains millions of bacteria, which can be easily observed under a microscope.

Ques 2: Give examples to prove that microbes release gases during metabolism.

Ans: The examples of bacteria that release gases during metabolism are:
1. Bacteria and fungi carry out the process of fermentation and during this process, they release carbon dioxide. Fermentation is the process of converting a complex organic substance into a simpler substance with the action of bacteria or yeast. Fermentation of sugar produces alcohol with the release of carbon dioxide and very little energy.

NCERT Solutions Class 12 Biology Chapter 8 - Microbes in Human Welfare

Fig: Bacteria Fig: Bacteria 

2. The dough used for making idli and dosa gives a puffed appearance. This is because of the action of bacteria which releases carbon dioxide. This CO2 released from the dough gets trapped in the dough, thereby giving it a puffed appearance.

Ques 3: In which food would you find lactic acid bacteria? Mention some of their useful applications.

Ans: Lactic acid bacteria can be found in curd. It is this bacterium that promotes the formation of milk into curd. The bacterium multiplies and increases its number, which converts the milk into curd. They also increase the content of vitamin B12 in curd. 

Lactic acid bacteria are also found in our stomach where it keeps a check on the disease-causing micro-organisms.

NCERT Solutions Class 12 Biology Chapter 8 - Microbes in Human Welfare

Fig: Lactic acid bacteria


Ques 4: Name some traditional Indian foods made of wheat, rice and Bengal gram (or their products) which involve use of microbes.


Ans: Wheat: Product: Bread, cake, etc.
Rice: Product: Idli, dosa
Bengal gram: Product: Dhokla, Khandvi

Ques 5: In which way have microbes played a major role in controlling diseases caused by harmful bacteria?

Ans: Several micro-organisms are used for preparing medicines. Antibiotics are medicines produced by certain micro-organisms to kill other disease causing micro-organisms. These medicines are commonly obtained from bacteria and fungi.

They either kill or stop the growth of disease-causing micro-organisms. Streptomycin, tetracycline, and penicillin are common antibiotics. Penicillium notatum produces chemical penicillin, which checks the growth of staphylococci bacteria in the body.
Antibiotics are designed to destroy bacteria by weakening their cell walls. As a result of this weakening, certain immune cells such as the white blood cells enter the bacterial cell and cause cell lysis. Cell lysis is the process of destroying cells such as blood cells and bacteria.

Ques 6: Name any two species of fungus, which are used in the production of the antibiotics.

Ans: Antibiotics are medicines that are produced by certain micro-organisms to kill other disease-causing micro-organisms. These medicines are commonly obtained from bacteria and fungi.
The species of fungus used in the production of antibiotics are:

 

Antibiotic

Fungus source

1

Penicillin

Penicillium notatum

2

Cephalosporin

Cephalosporium acremonium


Ques 7: What is sewage? In which way can sewage be harmful to us?

Ans: Sewage is the municipal waste matter that is carried away in sewers and drains. It includes both liquid and solid wastes, rich in organic matter and microbes. Many of these microbes are pathogenic and can cause several water- borne diseases. 

Sewage water is a major cause of polluting drinking water. Hence, it is essential that sewage water is properly collected, treated, and disposed.

NCERT Solutions Class 12 Biology Chapter 8 - Microbes in Human Welfare

Fig: Sewage


Ques 8: What is the key difference between primary and secondary sewage treatment?

Ans:

 

Primary sewage treatment

 

Secondary sewage treatment

1.

It is a mechanical process involving the removal of coarse solid materials.

1.

It is a biological process involving the action of microbes.

2.

It is inexpensive and relatively less complicated.

2.

It is a very expensive and complicated process.


Ques 9: Do you think microbes can also be used as source of energy? If yes, how?

Ans: Yes, microbes can be used as a source of energy. Bacteria such as Methane bacterium is used for the generation of gobar gas or biogas.
The generation of biogas is an anaerobic process in a biogas plant, which consists of a concrete tank (10−15 feet deep) with sufficient outlets and inlets. The dung is mixed with water to form the slurry and thrown into the tank.

NCERT Solutions Class 12 Biology Chapter 8 - Microbes in Human Welfare

Fig: Microbes source of energy

The digester of the tank is filled with numerous anaerobic methane producing bacteria, which produce biogas from the slurry. Biogas can be removed through the pipe which is then used as a source of energy, while the spent slurry is removed from the outlet and is used as a fertilizer.

Ques 10: Microbes can be used to decrease the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Explain how this can be accomplished.

Ans: Microbes play an important role in organic farming, which is done without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Bio-fertilizers are living organisms which help increase the fertility of soil.

NCERT Solutions Class 12 Biology Chapter 8 - Microbes in Human Welfare

Fig: Microbes

It involves the selection of beneficial micro-organisms that help in improving plant growth through the supply of plant nutrients. Biofertilizers are introduced in seeds, roots, or soil to mobilize the availability of nutrients.
Thus, they are extremely beneficial in enriching the soil with organic nutrients. Many species of bacteria and cyanobacteria have the ability to fix free atmospheric nitrogen. Rhizobium is a symbiotic bacteria found in the root nodules of leguminous plants.
Azospirillium and Azotobocter are free living nitrogen-fixing bacteria, whereas Anabena, Nostoc and Oscillitoria are examples of nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria. Bio-fertilizers are cost effective and ecofriendly.
Microbes can also act as bio-pesticides to control insect pests in plants. An example of bio-pesticides is Bacillus thuringiensis, which produces a toxin that kills the insect pests. 

Dried bacterial spores are mixed in water and sprayed in agricultural fields. When larvae of insects feed on crops, these bacterial spores enter the gut of the larvae and release toxins, thereby it. Similarly, Trichoderma are free living fungi.
They live in the roots of higher plants and protect them from various pathogens. Baculoviruses is another bio-pesticide that is used as a biological control agent against insects and other arthropods.

Ques 11: Three water samples namely river water, untreated sewage water and secondary effluent discharged from a sewage treatment plant were subjected to BOD test. The samples were labelled A, B and C; but the laboratory attendant did not note which was which. The BOD values of the three samples A, B and C were recorded as 20mg/L, 8mg/L and 400mg/L, respectively. Which sample of the water is most polluted? Can you assign the correct label to each assuming the river water is relatively clean?

Ans: Biological oxygen demand (BOD) is the method of determining the amount of oxygen required by micro organisms to decompose the waste present in the water supply. If the quantity of organic wastes in the water supply is high, then the number of decomposing bacteria present in the water will also be high.
As a result, the BOD value will increase. Therefore, it can be concluded that if the water supply is more polluted, then it will have a higher BOD value. Out of the above three samples, sample C is the most polluted since it has the maximum BOD value of 400 mg/L. 

After untreated sewage water, secondary effluent discharge from a sewage treatment plant is most polluted. Thus, sample A is secondary effluent discharge from a sewage treatment plant and has the BOD value of 20 mg/L, while sample B is river water and has the BOD value of 8 mg/L. 

Hence, the correct label for each sample is:

Label

BOD value

Sample

A

20 mg/L

Secondary effluent discharge from a sewage treatment plant

B

8 mg/L

River water

C

400 mg/L

Untreated sewage water


Ques 12: Find out the name of the microbes from which Cyclosporin A (an immuno-suppressive drug) and Statins (blood cholesterol lowering agents) are obtained.


Ans:

 

Drug

Function

Microbe

1

Cyclosporine −A

Immuno suppressive drug

Trichoderma polysporum

2

Statin

Blood cholesterol lowering agent

Monascus purpureus

 

Ques 13: Find out the role of microbes in the following and discuss it with your teacher.
(a) Single cell protein (SCP)
(b) Soil

Ans: (a) Single cell protein (SCP)
A single cell protein is a protein obtained from certain microbes, which forms an alternate source of proteins in animal feeds. The microbes involved in the preparation of single cell proteins are algae, yeast, or bacteria. These Biology microbes are grown on an industrial scale to obtain the desired protein.

NCERT Solutions Class 12 Biology Chapter 8 - Microbes in Human Welfare

Fig: Single Cell

For example, Spirulina can be grown on waste materials obtained from molasses, sewage, and animal manures. It serves as a rich supplement of dietary nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrate, fats, minerals, and vitamins. Similarly, micro-organisms such as Methylophilus and methylotrophus have a large rate of biomass production. Their growth can produce a large amount of proteins.
(b) Soil
Microbes play an important role in maintaining soil fertility. They help in the formation of nutrient-rich humus by the process of decomposition.Many species of bacteria and cyano bacteria have the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen into usable form. Rhizobium is a symbiotic bacteria found in the root nodules of leguminous plants. Azospirillium and Azotobocter are free living nitrogen-fixing bacteria, whereas Anabena, Nostoc, and Oscillitoria are examples of nitrogen-fixing cyano bacteria.

Ques 14: Arrange the following in the decreasing order (most important first) of their importance, for the welfare of human society. Give reasons for your answer. Biogas, Citric acid, Penicillin and Curd.

Ans: The order of arrangement of products according to their decreasing importance is:
Penicillin- Biogas − Citric acid − Curd
Penicillin is the most important product for the welfare of human society. It is an antibiotic, which is used for controlling various bacterial diseases. The second most important product is biogas. It is an eco-friendly source of energy. The next important product is citric acid, which is used as a food preservative. The least important product is curd, a food item obtained by the action of lactobacillus bacteria on milk
Hence, the products in the decreasing order of their importance are as follows:
Penicillin- Biogas − Citric acid − Curd

Ques 15: How do bio-fertilisers enrich the fertility of the soil?

Ans: Bio-fertilizers are living organisms which help in increasing the fertility of soil. It involves the selection of beneficial micro-organisms that help in improving plant growth through the supply of plant nutrients. These are introduced to seeds, roots, or soil to mobilize the availability of nutrients by their biological activity.

NCERT Solutions Class 12 Biology Chapter 8 - Microbes in Human Welfare

Fig: Fertility of Soil

Thus, they are extremely beneficial in enriching the soil with organic nutrients. Many species of bacteria and cyanobacteria have the ability to fix free atmospheric nitrogen. Rhizobium is a symbiotic bacteria found in the root nodules of leguminous plants. Azospirillium and Azotobocter are free living nitrogen-fixing bacteria, whereas Anabena, Nostoc, and Oscillitoria are examples of nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria. Biofertilizers are cost effective and eco-friendly.

The document NCERT Solutions Class 12 Biology Chapter 8 - Microbes in Human Welfare is a part of the NEET Course Biology Class 12.
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FAQs on NCERT Solutions Class 12 Biology Chapter 8 - Microbes in Human Welfare

1. What are microbes and how do they contribute to human welfare?
Ans. Microbes are microscopic organisms such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and protozoa. They play a crucial role in human welfare in various ways. Some microbes are used in industries to produce antibiotics, enzymes, and other useful products. They are also involved in the process of bioremediation, helping to clean up pollutants in the environment. Additionally, beneficial microbes are used in agriculture as biofertilizers and biocontrol agents to enhance crop production and protect plants from diseases.
2. How are microbes used in the production of antibiotics?
Ans. Microbes are extensively used in the production of antibiotics. For example, the antibiotic penicillin is produced by the fungus Penicillium notatum. Microbes are cultivated in large fermentation tanks, where they produce the antibiotic as a byproduct. The antibiotic is then isolated, purified, and formulated into medicines for human use. This process of utilizing microbes to produce antibiotics on a large scale has revolutionized the field of medicine and has been instrumental in treating various bacterial infections.
3. What is the role of microbes in bioremediation?
Ans. Microbes play a significant role in bioremediation, which is the process of using living organisms to remove or neutralize pollutants from the environment. Certain microbes have the ability to degrade harmful substances such as oil spills, pesticides, and toxic chemicals into less harmful or non-toxic forms. These microbes break down the pollutants through metabolic processes and convert them into harmless byproducts. Bioremediation helps in the restoration of polluted ecosystems and is a sustainable approach for environmental cleanup.
4. How do microbes contribute to agriculture?
Ans. Microbes have several contributions to agriculture. They are used as biofertilizers, which are microorganisms that enhance soil fertility and plant nutrition. Biofertilizers fix atmospheric nitrogen into a form that plants can utilize, reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers. Additionally, microbes act as biocontrol agents, helping to protect crops from harmful pests and diseases. They inhibit the growth of pathogenic microbes and promote plant growth by producing substances that stimulate plant defense mechanisms. Overall, microbes play a vital role in sustainable agriculture and reducing the dependency on chemical inputs.
5. Can microbes be harmful to human welfare?
Ans. While many microbes are beneficial, some can be harmful to human welfare. Pathogenic microbes can cause various diseases in humans, such as bacterial infections, viral infections, fungal infections, and protozoan infections. These diseases can range from mild to severe, and in some cases, can be life-threatening. However, it is important to note that not all microbes are harmful, and many are beneficial or neutral. Proper hygiene practices, vaccination, and appropriate use of antibiotics can help mitigate the risks associated with harmful microbes.
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