are microscopic organisms of which the largest is less than of an inch in length, while some ot them require to be magnified thousands of times to become visible. They abound universally and constitute the simplest and lowest known forms of life. They, or some of them, are the indirect causes of certain infectious diseases, and they aie capable of inciting many chemic al changes in the nature of fermentations, oxidation, and hydrolysis. The souring of milk is caused by the Bacterium lactis, that of dilute wine by the Mycoderma aceti, etc. Most bacteria are destroyed when heated for a short time to the temperature of boiling water, particularly in the presence of moisture, and all of them after a prolonged exposure. They are also readily destroyed by a number of chemical agents, including a solution of corrosive sublimate, exposure to formaldehyde in liquid or vaporous form of sufficient strength, or to the vapour of sulphur dioxide as generated by burning sulphur candles, and by many disinfectant preparations. Many kinds develop by sporebearing, and the spores are usually more difficult to kill than the fully developed germs. The activities of bacteria are not confined to organic compounds, many changes affecting the earth

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Definition of  BACTERIA