Biology

How many types of vitamins are there?

Vitamins are broadly categorized into two classes that include water-soluble and fat-soluble. This classification is based upon their solubility and is further split into sub- categories. Vitamins are compounds, which enable in bringing about improved body functions and metabolisms.

Fat Soluble Vitamins
The fat- soluble vitamins include vitamins A, K, D, and E. These vitamins are soluble only in the lipids, i.e. fats. Excess of these vitamins are stored in the fatty tissues of the body. The excess intake of these vitamins may bring more harm to the body than benefits. Vitamin A is needed for maintaining good skin, vision, and hair. This vitamin is found in cod liver, yellow fruits and vegetables. Vitamin D is stored in the fat tissues of the body and needed for healthy bones and teeth. This is the only vitamin that can be synthesized in the body when exposed to Sunlight. Adequate intake of milk and fish will provide enough of this vitamin.

Vitamin E and K are needed in minimal quantities but are nonetheless important. Vitamin E is needed for good skin and hair and acts as an antioxidant. This vitamin is found in rich amounts in soybeans, safflowers and corn. This vitamin is known to prevent Parkinson’s disease as well as heart attacks. Vitamin K is needed as a clotting factor in case of bleeding and is present in green vegetables.

Water Soluble Vitamins
The water-soluble vitamins are soluble in water and can be consumed in good amounts as the excess is removed from the body. This group consists of the B- complex vitamins and the Vitamin C. The B- complex vitamins are important for maintaining the normal body functions, such as maintaining a good skin, preventing heart diseases, brain disorders and other deficiencies. These vitamins are present in all the fresh green vegetables and grains. Vitamin C, on the other hand, acts as an antioxidant and for increasing the immunity of the body and is found in abundance in citrus fruits.

A deficiency of any of these vitamins will create deficiency disorders and need to be provided from the diet or in the form of supplements.

How many types of plants are there?

The number of plant species is discovered with increased efficiency every year. Currently, the number stays at about 375,000 with the seeded plants, ferns, fern allies and bryophytes. Of these, 258,650 plants belong to the flowering category while the rest are a part of the bryophytes (16000), which include mosses, hornworts and liverworts. There are about 11000 varieties of ferns and 8000 of algae.

Photosynthesis
Plants carry out photosynthesis, a process through which they utilize carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight to produce sugars while releasing oxygen as a byproduct. The chloroplast cells of the plants play an important in photosynthesis providing the much-needed chlorophyll.

Types of Plants
Algae were initially grouped along with plants. However they are now classified separately as a distinct species. Algae are of different types, such as blue-green algae, red algae and brown algae. One of the common examples of algae includes seaweeds. The land plants, on the contrary, are the dominant species of plants and are known as the embryophytes.

Most of these plants contain vacuoles needed for transporting nutrients and water. These are the most advanced species that have been dominating Earth for about 420 million years. They form the major keystone for sustaining life on Earth. They also help in maintaining a balance in the ecosystem.

The other category under these land plants covers the bryophytes, which include liverworts and mosses. Because of the absence of the vascular system, these plants can grow only up to an inch or so but they have been in abundance even after 500 million years. Another important species of plants include the angiosperms, which are flowering plants, and although they have developed in a short period, these plants have been important specie for development.

Pollination
Plants employ seeds, spores and pores for propagation purposes. Ferns develop using spores for their propagation, as they need a moist and wet environment to grow.

Genetic engineers have been using animals and vectored insects for improvising pollination through genetics.

How Many Types Of Fungi Are There?

Fungi are unicellular and multi-cellular organisms belonging to the genus heterotrophic phylum. More than 100,000 organism species are classified as fungi. Fungi are categorized into four prominent types: Zygomycota, Basidiomycota, Deuteromycota and Ascomycota.

Zygomycota fungi are mostly molds that feed on dead plants and animals. These parasites flourish on insects and plants. The method of reproduction among these is sexual and the male and female are not distinguishable.

Basidiomycota fungi can be sexual as well as asexual in nature. These can be either unicellular or multi-cellular. The most common Basidiomycota fungus is the mushroom that reproduces sexually. This phylum of fungus includes single-celled yeasts and many asexual organisms.

Deuteromycota fungi have mostly asexual reproductive features. This category includes the species of organisms that do not qualify under other categories. Deuteromycota fungi are known as Fungi Imperfecti and these include organisms that help in the formation of Camembert cheese and Roquefort, a French blue cheese. It includes the fungi that cause various animal and plant diseases, such as ringworm and athlete’s foot.

Ascomycota fungi include mostly yeasts, molds, mildews and edible organisms, such as truffle and morel. They also comprise of fungi species that cause ergot, chestnut blight, Dutch elm disease and apple scab disease in plants. Ascomycota fungi have a combination of both the reproductive features i.e. asexual and sexual.

Chytridiomycota are another common types of fungi found. Generally known as Chytrids, these contain unreleased spores in their pot-like structures. They go about the process of multiplication by producing zoospores that are mobile in nature. The Neocallimastigomycota originally belonged to the class of Chytridiomycota. These anaerobic orgnasims are commonly found in digestive systems of various herbivorous animals. Similar to Chytrids, these produce zoospores for propagation and exist in water as well as on land.

Various fungi can be poisonous to humans and animals alike and cause death among them. They can damage crops resulting in a failed harvest.

How Many Types Of Bacteria Are There?

Bacteria are single-celled organisms found in all environmental conditions. They are classified based on their shapes, sizes, cell structure, cell components, and metabolism. Scientifically, bacteria are classified into various phyla. Phyla are the scientific classifications of organisms.

Classification based on shapes
Before the DNA techniques were used for classification, the bacteria were classified on their shapes. The rod shaped bacteria are termed as Bacilli. Cocci are the sphere shaped bacteria and the spiral shaped ones are termed spirilla. Bacteria often have irregular shapes that do not fall under these three specific shape categories.

Aerobic and Anaerobic Classification
This classification is based on the need of oxygen for the growth and survival of the bacteria. Those bacteria that require oxygen to survive in the environment are termed aerobic bacteria and the ones that do not require oxygen are anaerobic bacteria. Some anaerobic bacteria might die in the presence of oxygen.

Classification based on Gram stain
The thick walls of the membrane in Gram-positive bacteria stain purple while the thin walls membranes of the Gram-negative bacteria are pink.

Autotrophic and heterotrophic classification
This type of classification is based on the reproduction and growth of the bacteria. Autotrophic bacteria require carbon and process sugar from carbon dioxide by using sunlight. Other autotrophic bacteria require chemical reactions for their growth. Heterotrophic bacteria get the sugar and carbon from the living organisms and cells in which they are present.

Phyla classification
In this type of classification, the bacteria are categorized under 15 different phyla. The bacteria under this classification are categorized based on DNA sequencing. Every phylum includes the bacteria’s genera and species. Aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, bacteria surviving in acidic environment and alkaline environment, bacteria surviving in extreme hot temperature such as in sulfur springs and the ones in extreme cold temperature such as in Antarctica, the ones that live in sweet water and in ocean water are all covered under each phylum.

Bacteria can be classified based on their healthy and harmful attributes towards other living organisms.

How many proteins exist?

Proteins are the basic building blocks of our bodies. It is estimated that the human body comprises of approximately two million proteins, which are coded by only 20,000 to 25,000 genes. There are groups of 20 amino acids that form the molecular chains of protein. However, the number of proteins found in a biological organism can even exceed to 10 million. These are the probable figures but the actual numbers are difficult to know for sure.

Proteins can be defined as the long molecular chains, which are made out of the 20 basic building blocks of life known as the amino acids. The field of science that studies the characteristics of proteins in the human body is known as Proteomics. The molecules that consist of single protein are termed as monomeric protein while ones that contain more than one are called oligomeric protein.

The body has only about 20 amino acids but they have the potential of connecting particles in arbitrary sequences. Proteins can be used to cure almost every disease and ailment but finding the right combination for cure is a challenge.

The longest known protein chain is Titin, which is also called Connectin and contains about 26,926 amino acids. It is found in the muscles and is responsible for providing passive stiffness to the body. All biological organisms can be looked as fundamentally protein structure, which is filled with water and sometimes supported with mineralized tissues called the bones.

Every protein can be broken down by other proteins into simpler forms, which is usually important to perform important functions. Scientists have, as yet, not been able to determine the exact number of proteins present in a living organism.