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How can decay caused by microorganisms be both helpful and harmful?

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According to the University of Minnesota, microorganisms such as wood-decay fungi cause billions of dollars in losses every year by destroying forest trees that could have been used as timber. They are also useful if used in medicines, wood products and agriculture. Microorganisms play a role in breaking down decomposing matter, but the bacteria also causes gas release and a putrid odor.

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The University of Minnesota notes that dry-rot is the onset of microcellular decay. These organisms are known as brown-rot fungi, and they cause decay in living trees and wooden structures used by man. There is also a correlation between wood loss and the spreading of diseases, especially in urban areas.

The Scientist notes that good bacteria living at the root level has a beneficial impact on plant growth. Negative bacteria, however, hampers plant growth.

According to WebMD, bacteria in the mouth breaks down teeth, which causes such problems as gum disease and toothache. Tooth decay is also caused by bacteria, which also lead to holes in the tooth, otherwise known as cavities. Tooth plaque contains bacteria that feeds on sugars in food. The bacteria then produce acids that damage the teeth. However, there is some bacteria in the mouth that plays a role in preventing halitosis, according to ABC News.

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