We have to establish, first of all, that anaerobe is a neologism that was shaped in the second half of the 19th century within the world of microbiology and biochemistry. It is the result of the sum of three clearly differentiated components:
-The prefix “an-“, which is used to indicate negation.
-The term “aero”, which can be translated as “air”.
-The noun “bios”, which is synonymous with “life”.
Specifically, we can determine that it was a term coined by the famous French microbiologist Louis Pasteur. Exactly the first time he used it as such was in a weekly publication called “Comptes Rendus hebdomadaires de l´Academia des Sciences”.
Anaerobic is called the organism that can survive despite the lack of oxygen. The beings that, on the other hand, do require oxygen to live, are called aerobes.
Anaerobes, therefore, do not use oxygen in their metabolic processes. Depending on which substance is the terminal electron acceptor (the element that receives an electron in the framework of photosynthesis or cellular respiration), it can be organisms that develop anaerobic respiration or have a fermentative metabolism.
In the case of anaerobic organisms that perform anaerobic respiration, they have an inorganic molecule other than oxygen as a terminal acceptor. Anaerobic organisms with fermentative metabolism, for their part, have an organic molecule as an acceptor.
Anaerobic respiration works analogously to aerobic respiration, albeit with a non-oxygen molecule as the final electron acceptor. These beings use sulfur, nitrate, arsenate, sulfate or another substance to achieve oxidoreduction of monosaccharides and other elements.
Anaerobic fermentation, on the other hand, is a catabolism process that allows oxidation to develop without oxygen. One can distinguish between the alcoholic fermentation, the acetic fermentation, and others.
It is also possible to find facultative anaerobes (aerobic beings that, in the absence of oxygen, develop fermentation). When the organism is not in a position to subsist on oxygen, on the other hand, it is called a strict anaerobe.
Two types of anaerobes to which should be added an equally significant third. We are referring to those that receive the name of wind turbines. As their own name already indicates, they are those who have the particularity that they cannot use oxygen to undertake their growth, but they can tolerate its presence.
It should be noted that in the group of anaerobic beings we can find bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms.
It is important to establish that there are anaerobic bacteria that are responsible for different diseases and infections. Thus, among them, we can highlight both postoperative and gynecological infections, which are generated by anaerobic bacteria in the vaginal flora, for example, and those that affect soft tissues and even the skin. Of course, without overlooking that they can also cause serious pathologies that have the bones as affected parts.