course hack

Microbes: Friend or Foe?

The Open University, Audrey Brown

5 mins

3 key insights

Visual, audio & text

This course from The Open University examines the many and varied roles microbes play in our lives, including harmlessly coexisting with us, causing disease, and purifying wastewater.


Microbes: Friend or Foe?

Microbes: Friend or Foe?

by The Open University


Microbes – organisms that are too small to be seen with the naked eye – are ubiquitous in the environment and within our bodies. Although microbes are known for causing disease, they are also essential for processes like wastewater treatment and brewing beer. Microbes that live naturally within our bodies are usually harmless, but a wound or illness can be an opportunity for them to become harmful.

In this course from The Open University, associate lecturer Audrey Brown explains the duality of microbes. The course covers how microbes can cause diseases, the growing threat of microbial resistance to antibiotics, and the beneficial role microbes play in sewage treatment and food production.

Favorite quote

Most of the microbes in humans live a harmonious existence with human cells, but disease and infection can be caused when this balance is disrupted.

- The Open University

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