Are Bacteria Herbivores or Carnivores? 7 Facts You Should Know

The bacteria are free living microscopically observed organisms that require other animal or plant cell to survive or reproduce. In this article we will illustrate that whether we consider Bacteria a herbivores or carnivore.

The herbivores are the organisms that feed on plant and its parts, the term carnivore referred as the organisms that take its nutrition and feed on animals. To be in mind about herbivore and carnivore definition, we will consider Bacteria as herbivore as well as carnivore.

Bacteria feed on many living plants and causes infection so considered as herbivore like crown gall disease and feed on animal also thus considered as carnivore while decomposing a dead animal body.

What are herbivores bacteria?

Herbivores are the animals that only feed on plants. They occupy the primary consumer place in food chain web. Primary consumer is those which get its nutrition from the producers. Herbivores placed at the second trophic level as first reserved by autotrophs.

Herbivore Bacteria are those bacteria which infect the living plant cell and cause infection. They also present in the rumen the animals. Thus, when the animal feed on plants that bacteria also take its nutrition from the plant matter in the stomach of that animals.

Fungi, bacteria and Protists that grow or feed on the living plants termed as plant pathogens. The herbivore bacteria are specialized in digesting cellulose which is main constituents of plants.

The herbivore bacteria play an important role in the food chain as they individually or symbiotically present in animal gut help to digest the plants matter to keep the energy flow in the ecosystem.

How are herbivore bacteria?

The herbivore bacteria often known as plant pathogens is an organism that cause diseases to the plants. In most of the plant pathosystems (phenomenon of parasitism), the bacteria ability to cause infections depend on the hydrolases and cell wall degrading proteins class ( that degrade the cell wall).

Most of the cell wall degrading enzymes are pathogen produced and pectin targeted like pectate lyase, pectinase and pectinesterase). For the bacteria, polysaccharide of cell wall is itself act as a food.

Most of the herbivore bacteria will grow opportunistically when the plant cell breaks down its own cells during fruit ripening.

There are five main types of bacterial pathogenicity factors: cell wall degrading enzymes, effector proteins, phytohormones, toxins and exopolysaccharides

Are all bacteria are herbivores?

The bacterial number in the ecosystem is very large in number. The nature of bacteria will depend upon its interaction with the host cell. the bacteria interact and establish the host-pathogen interaction which kind of cell like plant or animal cell defines its nature .If the bacteria establish interaction with the plant cell it is considered as herbivore bacteria but it interact with an animal cell it is called as carnivore bacteria.

Some of the bacteria are known as omnivores . The omnivore bacteria are those which feed on the both plant as well as animal cells. Omnivore and carnivores are at the second trophic level and called as second consumers.

Some of the bacteria are decomposers that degrade the waste organic matter into decomposed form. Few of bacteria are also scavengers that reside and gain nutrient from the dead animals body.

Which type of bacteria are herbivore?

The bacteria that reside and take nutrition from plant or producers are termed as herbivores bacteria. The bacteria may be present on the outer surface of plant as epiphyte or present inside the plant as endophyte . The herbivore bacteria may be present in the gut of plant eater animals. The herbivore bacteria are either beneficial or detrimental in nature.

The beneficial bacteria are present as probiotics like in yogurt, fermented food products like cheese, tofu , kefir, soya sauce and many examples. The harmful bacteria feed and take nutrition from plant cell caused the plant cell damage, produce potent toxin and cause disease. The diseases producing bacteria that infect the plant cells are called plant pathogen bacteria.

Examples of herbivore bacteria

Most of the herbivore bacteria belong to the following genera

  • Erwinia
  • Pectobacterium
  • Pantoea
  • Agrobacterium
  • Pseudomonas
  • Ralstonia
  • Burkholderia
  • Acidovorax
  • Xanthomonas
  • Clavibacter
  • Streptomyces
  • Xylella
  • Spiroplasma
  • Phytoplasma

Erwinia amylovora cause fire blight diseases of ornamental, fruit trees and bhushes. Plantobacter carotovorum cause soft rot diseases.

320px Erwinia amylovora 05
Fire blight by Erwinia from Wikipedia

Xylella fastidiosa is the first phytopathogen genome to be sequenced. Xanthomonas oryzae one of the serious pathogen of rice; Xanthomonas axonopodis causal agent of cassava bacterial blight. Xanthomonas campestris cause diseases in the range of crops.

Are bacteria herbivores
Bacterial leaf blight (Xanthomonas campestris) from Wikipedia

Ralstonia solanacearum bacteria affected the crops varying from potato to banana. Agrobacterium tumefaciens affect the cotton plant to cause crown gall diseases.

320px A tumefaciens disease cycle
disease cycle of Agrobacterium tumefacien from Wikipedia

Are bacteria omnivores ?

The omnivore is the animal that can survive on feeding o. both plant and animal matters. From the plant and animal matter, the omnivore get energy and nutrients. Omnivore are either primary or secondary includes bacteria, fungi or other micro-organisms.

Some omnivores bacteria act as scavengers i.e. eat meat of dead animals. Sometime it act as decomposer i.e. act on dead and decaying plant matter further make manure. Omnivore bacteria has better survival capacity because having both herbivore and carnivore feeding features. Omnivores can adapt to development than herbivore or carnivores.

Are bacteria carnivores ?

Carnivore are the animals that eat other animals. Bacteria are the organisms that not directly feed on something. But still there are flesh eating bacteria considered carnivore bacteria. We can call them saprophytes, saprovores or saprophages. The flesh eating bacteria known to cause necrotizing fasciitis caused by Group A strep, or Streptococcus pyogene.

Nectrotizing fasciitis happen when these bacteria infect the superficial fascia, a layer of connective tissue below the skin. The bacteria can enter into the body through surgical wounds, burns, minor cuts, abrasion and puncture wounds or other injury.

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