The Microscopic World: 17 More Fascinating Facts About Bacteria and Viruses – Part 2

1E-Coli bacteria

E-Coli bacteria

The dangerous strains of E-Coli Bacteria only came into existence in the early 70s, when, by a freak event of DNA sharing, an E-Coli Bacterium gained the gene to produce kidney and intestine destroying Shiga Toxins from a Shigella Bacterium, the bacteria that causes Dysentery.

2Giant virus

Giant virus

A giant virus has been discovered which has its own immune system. French scientists found that the defense mechanisms of these giant viruses work in a similar way to the CRISPR-Cas system, whereby the virus learns to recognize invaders, capture their genetic material, and use this information to destroy them.

3Bacillus pasteurii

Bacillus pasteurii

Certain bacteria such as Bacillus pasteurii, Bacillus pseudofirmus, Bacillus cohnii, Sporosarcina pasteuri can be used to increase the strength of concrete by incorporating them into concrete mixture.

4Herpes virus

Herpes virus

Dormant viruses can reactivate during spaceflight. Herpesviruses reactivate in more than half of the crew aboard Space Shuttle and International Space Station missions.

5Yersinia pestis

Yersinia pestis

The Yersinia pestis bacteria is responsible for 3 plague pandemics in history, i.e., Plague of Justinian in the 6th century, the Black Death in the 14th century, and the Third Pandemic in the 19th and 20th century.



The largest virus ever discovered had a size of up to 1.5 microns. The Pithovirus was found buried in Siberian permafrost. It was revived even though it was 30,000 years old and successfully infected cells raising fears that dangerous viruses could emerge from stasis as the climate warmed.

7Tobacco mosaic virus

Tobacco mosaic virus

The first virus discovered is the Tobacco mosaic virus, which was over 100 years ago. It causes a mosaic looking disease in tobacco plants. It can survive for years in cigars and cigarettes made from infected leaves. Wendell Stanley won the Nobel Prize in 1946 for discovering that it’s made from protein.

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8Actinomyces Naeslundii

Actinomyces Naeslundii

Actinomyces Naeslundii is a bacteria, which resides in the human mouth and is heavily linked to tooth decay and periodontal disease.

9Shope papillomavirus

Shope papillomavirus

The Shope papillomavirus is a virus that can cause rabbits to grow "horns" on their head. This may have led to the myth of the jackalope.

10Wolbachia bacteria

Wolbachia bacteria

The Wolbachia bacteria can only transmit through female insects. It eliminates males by killing them or turning them female and enables host females to reproduce without males.

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