What’s the Difference Between Viruses and Bacteria?

Many people think that germs are what make us sick but scientifically speaking, germs are microbes that can be both harmful or helpful and come in four varieties – bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. We’ll leave the discussion of fungi and protozoa for another post and focus on bacteria and viruses in this one. Microbeworld says that viruses are as different from bacteria as goldfish are from giraffes. That is REALLY different! So what are the differences between the two microorganisms? With people still concerned with the H1N1 virus – knowing the differences and similarities might be really helpful!

What’s a Germ?
This page from Science NetLinks provides images of the four types of microbes and a general description of the differences between them.

Virus or Bacterium?
This site gets into more detail in regards to cell structure and reproductive differences.

What’s the Life Span of a Virus?
This podcast and background information tells the differences between the cold virus and flu virus – both life span and how they are transmitted.

Bacteria: More Than Pathogens
This article, written by molecular biologist Trudy Wassenaar, helps clear up the misconceptions associated with bacteria.

Structure Of ‘Beneficial’ Virus That Can Infect Cancer Cells Solved
There are lots of bacteria that are beneficial – not so much for viruses. Here is a Science Daily article that describes a virus that “attacks” cancer cells.

We Want Your Feedback
We want and need your ideas, suggestions, and observations. What would you like to know more about? What questions have your students asked? We invite you to share with us and other readers by posting your comments. Please check back often for our newest posts or download the RSS feed for this blog. Let us know what you think and tell us how we can serve you better. We appreciate your feedback on all of our Middle School Portal 2 publications. You can also email us at msp@msteacher.org. Post updated 11/21/2011.

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