Microbes, especially those that belong to the domains bacteria and Archaea, live in the most widely varied habitats on Earth. At the same time these microbes involve themselves in the biogeochemical cycles and help in nutrient recycling. These biogeochemical cycles include carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle, sulphur cycle and phosphorus cycle.
Microbes are also used in the degradation of chemicals in soil and water. The use of microbes to detoxify or degrade pollutants is called bioremediation. Bioremediation may also use microbes that have been selected for growth on a certain pollutant or of genetically modified bacteria that are specially adapted to metabolize petroleum products. The addition of such specialized microbes is called bioaugumentation. Microbes play a very important role in food industry in the production of cheese, butter, buttermilk, pickles and olives. Yeasts have been used for the production of alcoholic beverages since a long time.
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