Can you tell me, what is the deadliest weapon that exists on earth? No, it’s not atomic bombs. The deadliest weapons that can easily wash away millions of people from our planet are ‘biological weapons’. Biological weapons include the use of biological toxins or infectious agents like bacterias, fungi, viruses, and insects to kill or incapacitate humans. And human history is proof that biological weapons have been used in several wars by different countries to win the war easily. And who knows the virus with which the whole world is suffering now, is a biological weapon from China. Well, I shall dive deeper into the topic of ‘Biological Weapons’ later on because my main motive to tell you about biological was to give you a little idea about how deadly micro-organisms can be and I hope you have understood.
So, coming back to our topic let’s talk about the bacteriophages. Bacteriophages or phage for short is said to be the deadliest entity on our planet. A phage is a virus, not quite alive not quite dead. Their head is an icosahedron, sort of dice with 20 faces and 30 edges. The head is made up of protein which contains the genetic material. The head sits on a long tail that has leg-like fibers. And you will be shocked to know that there are more phages on earth than every other organism combined, including bacterias. They are probably present everywhere where living things exist. Billions are on your hands, eyelids, and in your intestine right now. The fact that they are present everywhere will make you nervous because they are responsible for the majority of deaths on earth. But, don’t worry mate we are lucky because they only kill bacteria. Up to 40% of all bacteria in the oceans are killed by them every single day.
Bacteriophages V/S Bacteria:
Like any other virus, the phage also requires a host to survive and reproduce. And without a host, they become non-living. They show a very interesting characteristic that, usually a phage has chosen one specific bacteria or maybe some of its close relatives on whom it attacks. Imagine a phage like a sharp-shooter or a cruise missile that only hunts and kills members of one very unlucky family.
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