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Prokaryotic life details: what is binary fission

What is binary fission : an irrefragable answer to the question of definition and important details of cell physiology

Binary fission is the final process that crowns the period of cell growth and which, most importantly, represents the division of the cell into two daughter cells. Normally, two daughter units are characterized by analogous cellular composition and each of them contains a precise copy of the maternal chromosome. The phenomenon of binary fission underlies the ability of a cell to double, in this way increasing the number of cells in a population. As long as a cell grows mostly at its ends and the process of division occurs near its middle we can see that one of the answers to what is binary fission is as follows: it is also a matter of cells identity in the population. However, how closely they are resembling each other greatly depends on the perceptiveness of monitoring techniques; that is, a more careful examination will reveal divergence in cell size and length as well as lots of tiny unique differences in external cell structure. Therefore, before searching for thesis format a student should examine the problem of cell division very attentively in order not to sow seeds of further mistakes.

Microbiologists have studied successfully biochemistry of cell division by exploring cell cycle control over the division of yeast cells. First and foremost, most attempts to reveal what is binary fission came up against the understanding of physiological conditions that both can impede or facilitate the fission process. Thus, cell division in yeast cells has been examined using electronic microscopy as well as the modern techniques of fluorescent microscopy; both methods were possible thanks to a well-thought-out analysis of a highly important artifact of cell division, which is the fission scar. Today, students can learn a lot about the said issue from more than one Turabian paper available in many university libraries. Nowadays we know that the fission scar is the weakest region of the cell wall and that it contains many valuable data regarding how the layering and the fusion of yeast cells occur.

The greatest progress in the study of the Prokaryotes is associated with the comparative analysis of nucleotide sequences of RNA and prokaryotic cellular structure as well as with a complete understanding of what is binary fission. The former is often called ‘biological chronometer’ and ‘internal fossil’, mostly because RNA is presented in all prokaryotic cells and is characterized by great conservativeness. While little is changing in ribonucleic acid during the process of biological evolution, lots of similarities between RNA molecules just cannot be explained by the ongoing transfer of genes between distant organisms of different taxa. The concept of the three main trunks of organic life – archaea, eubacteria and eukaryotes – was formulated owing many to rRNA analysis and similar experimental techniques. Exactly this approach supplemented by peculiarities of the nutrient intake, metabolism and physiology make the most promising direction of study and classification of the Prokaryotes.

What is binary fission : monitoring a batch culture

During balanced growth of a batch culture, with no regard for what measure parameters are being used, the majority of bacterial culture characteristics will be constant over time. This allows us to comprehend how exactly a high growth rate of bacteria is connected to the fact that they are highly adaptable and evolutionarily flexible. Hence, we need to establish and clarify several terms for a more clearly understandable excurse into particularities of cell physiology (also, it will bring us some knowledge of what is binary fission ). First and foremost, growth is considered as balanced when the amount of cell constituents, such as RNA, DNA, and other organic polymers is proportional to the number of cells in the exponential phase of growth. Knowing the special parameter called the generation time, we can easily calculate another important characteristic known as the specific growth rate. The generation time for different bacteria may vary from 15 minutes under laboratory conditions in fast-growing species to more than one day in slow-growing prokaryotes. However, a batch culture permits us to monitor many averaged characteristics of a cell population simultaneously, for a long period of time. Thus, we can write down valuable data while the bacterial culture is growing, exhausting nutrients and undergoing different effects due to the accumulation of products of growth to a toxic level. Gradually, the culture goes from the starting phase through the lag and stationary phases to the death phase, which is characterized by cell lysis. All these phases are parts of a typical growth curve and a good demonstration of what is binary fission and what major consequences of this phenomenon are – the only thing we need here is to place a precise number of cells on suitable substrates and watch them growing and increasing in number.

What are physicochemical factors that strongly affect the growth rate and the successfulness of the culture? There are quite a lot of environmental factors that impact the ontogenesis of every living being, although no other living creature can demonstrate such remarkable tolerance to harsh conditions and extreme environments as bacteria do. Primarily, we can distinguish the following factors:

  • the pH value of culture media. Again, a student interested in knowing the answer to what is binary fission should pay attention to the terms like acidophiles and alkaliphiles. Speaking of internal pH, most species can grow successfully over a pH range of six units (that is, between pH 2.0 and 8.0) whereas the minimum and maximum permissible pH spectrum of surroundings ranges from pH 0.5-1 for acidophilic extremophiles to pH 12-12.5 for alkaliphilic bacteria.
  • the temperature range of growth. Thus, according to cardinal temperatures we can classify bacteria as mesophilic, thermotolerant and thermophilic if they can grow on 40, 50 and more than 70 °C, respectively. There also exists the analogous scheme for low temperatures, according to which bacteria fall into two categories, such as psychrotolerants and psychrophiles (some of them have optimal growth rates below 10 °C). Usually, during the active phases of growth any rapid shift from the normal (optimal) temperature range toward extreme values is deleterious. It is the stationary phase only when sudden heating to 54 °C or chilling to 4 °C do little damage to cells.
  • supply of oxygen and other gasses. Students can find many minor literary sources related to factors influencing bacterial growth (some of which, apparently, will be in an MLA essay format ); however, the solid part of the answer to what is binary fission hides in specialized handbooks and microbiology tutorials. Mostly, low oxygen concentrations (no more than 0.5%) are common in many natural habitats, and that is why a large number of bacteria are able to live under such limited conditions. Nevertheless, these microaerophiles cannot do without oxygen at all, which is not true for facultative aerobes that take the total absence of oxygen as a matter of course. At the same time, autotrophic bacteria greatly depends on the CO2 accessibility, as they need the latter as sole carbon source; heterotrophic bacteria also require CO2, even though they need it exclusively for biosynthetic carboxylation.
  • the availability of water and water-containing substrates. All-in-all, ‘dryness’ requires specific molecular mechanisms of adaptation because water is an essential substrate in a wide range of enzyme reactions as well as it is the most valuable solvent of biological systems. However, there are organisms named xerophiles that manage to do almost without water; simultaneously, halophilic and osmophilic bacteria are able to stand extreme concentrations of salt (up to 30%) and sugar (the water activity near 0.99), respectively.

What is binary fission : discussing important peculiarities of prokaryotic life forms

Prokaryotes are unicellular organisms that lack in nuclear organization of the chromatin. This means their genetic material is not separated from the cytoplasm by a two-layer or single-layer membrane shell. Although, prokaryotes have at disposal the analogous structure consisting of RNA, DNA, and various proteins. These primitive organisms lack in the mitotic spindles, Golgi apparatus, chloroplasts, mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, centrioles and lysosomes as well – apparently, they do not have any two-layer membrane organelle typical for eukaryotes. A more detailed comparative analysis of eukaryotes and prokaryotes is available to any student who knows what is an annotated bibliography. It is also advisable to ask a librarian for advice on a vast volume of literature devoted to the morphology of the Prokaryotes.

The generic system of prokaryotes is famously called genophore and equals to a primitive chromosome. The study of what is binary fission has shown that prokaryotic ribosomes significantly differ from those of the Eukaryotes in the number of protein subunits and sedimentation constant. The constant amounts to 80S for a whole prokaryotic ribosome, while its small and large subunits equal 30S and 50S, respectively. It is widely believed that prokaryotes play an indispensable role in marine ecosystems, however quite a lot of people still are not aware how large are quantities of prokaryotic life forms in seawater. To be exact, 1 ml of seawater from some estuaries can contain over 5 million different bacteria whereas the water from other regions can comprise from 10 thousand to several million various prokaryotic life forms. Thus, bacteria make up more than 65% of the total phytoplankton production in marine ecosystems. Moreover, these are various heterotrophic bacteria that provide massive utilization and biodestruction of dead organic substances dissolved in seawater; with all this going on, marine ecosystems efficiently manage to maintain adequate transfer of dead organics back to food chains of living organisms. Obviously, in order to understand what is binary fission and the whole diversity of biological roles of bacteria, it is necessary to distinguish and classify them with a great effectiveness. Evidentially, this task could not be easily performed due to the huge number and incredible diversity of bacteria on the Earth.

Moreover, all continuous attempts to construct a natural phylogenetic prokaryote classification meet a lot of difficulties and unexpected hindrances. First of all, since we are interested in taking into account all possible relationships between taxa we must deal with a limited number of morphological features, which are primarily used to separate and classify taxa. Secondly, the well-known fact that bacteria use horizontal gene transfer significantly dramatizes the entire process of classification. In this regard, there exist many misconceptions that refer to the so-called net-structured evolution of the Prokaryotes and which, supposedly, should underlie the basis of phenotypic taxonomy using Raman analysis of a combination of many phenotypic traits. The aforementioned problem of classification makes a great topic for an analytical essay, so a student can familiarize himself or herself with works by G.A. Zavarzin as well as provide a thorough investigation of the current state of the issue and a clear explanation of what is binary fission.

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