Difference Between Bacteria and Protists (with Table)

The world comprises of uncountable living organisms some of which are similar and some are different. It has bacteria, protists, fungi, protozoa, algae, euglena, viruses, etc. Each of these belongs to different families and kingdoms. They have different characteristics and functions. 

Bacteria and Protists are two organisms that are often confused with one another. A bacteria is a single-celled organism that belongs to the Monera kingdom, it is an important part of the environment having important functions. Protists can be single-celled or multi-celled and they belong to the Protista kingdom, these organisms help in the supply of oxygen.

The difference between bacteria and protests is that a bacteria is an organism with a single cell which belongs to the kingdom Monera, it has the simplest structure among all the organisms, they even lack nucleus, mitochondria, organelles, etc. While a protist is single or multiple celled organisms which belong to the kingdom Protista, they are one of the genetically modified organisms and thus have a complex cell structure, they contain a nucleus surrounded by a nuclear membrane. 

Comparison Table Between Bacteria and Protists 

Parameter of ComparisonBacteriaProtists
Classification of the organismBacteria is one of the oldest known organisms which belongs to the kingdom Monera.Protists are the genetically modified organisms that belong to the kingdom Protista.
Cell structureBacteria are the organisms having a single cell with the simplest cell structure. They can have a spiral shape, rod shape, spherical or a chain like structure. Bacteria lack a nucleus, mitochondria, chloroplasts and organelles.Protists can either be single-celled or multiple called. They contain a nucleus surrounded by a nuclear membrane.
Nuclear membraneThe DNA or genetic material of a bacteria is not surrounded by a protective membrane known as a nuclear membrane. Thus, they are termed as prokaryotes.The genetic material in protists is surrounded by the nuclear membrane along with chromosomes. Therefore, protists are classified as eukaryotes.
Mode of nutritionIn bacteria, the mode for getting nutrition can either be autotrophic or heterotrophic.In protists, the process for getting nutrition can be photosynthesis, heterotrophic or both.
HabitationBacteria can be found in any kind of environment.Protists can only be found in a moist environment.

What is Bacteria?

Bacteria is a single celled organism with the simplest cell structure and having minimal cell differentiation. It belongs to the Monera kingdom. Its scientific name is also Bacteria. They are the earliest forms of life to have appeared on earth.

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The length of a bacteria can be up to some micrometers. Bacteria have a single-celled body due to which they lack a nucleus, mitochondria, chloroplast and other organelles. However, they exist in various shapes, from spheres and spirals to rods, having different sizes. The shape of the bacteria is characterized by their cell wall. 

The DNA or genetic material of a material lacks the nuclear membrane and thus they are classified as prokaryotes. The mode of gaining nutrition in bacteria is either autotrophic or heterotrophic. 

Bacteria can be found in any type of environment and surroundings. They play a vital role in the maintenance of the food cycle of the ecosystem by recycling nutrients. Bacteria can either be good or bad for the human body. Good bacteria help in carrying various processes in the body whereas bad bacteria may lead to various diseases. Bacteria are used in preparing fermented foods like yogurt, cheese, vinegar, wine, etc.

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What are Protists?

Protists are evolved and diverse organisms that belong to the Protista kingdom. They have either a single-celled body or multiple celled body.  Some of the protists have plant-like characteristics, some have fungus-like characteristics and some have animal-like characteristics, thus it becomes difficult to classify them. They have higher cell differentiation.

Protists have mitochondria, chloroplasts, nucleus and various other organelles present in them. The genetic material of the protests is surrounded by the nuclear membrane and thus they are classified as Eukaryotes. They gain essential nutrients through photosynthesis or heterotrophic. 

Protists are always found in a moist environment. Protists also have an important role in the environment. They help in the supply of oxygen which is essential for all living beings.

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Main Differences Between Bacteria and Protists

  1. Bacteria is an organism with a single cell, on the other hand, protests can either be single-celled or multiple celled.
  2. Bacteria belong to the kingdom Monera whereas Protists belong to the kingdom Protista.
  3. Bacteria is one of the oldest-known simplest organisms, on the other hand,  Protists are modified and evolved complex organisms.
  4. Bacteria lack a nucleus, mitochondria, chloroplasts and other organelles while all of these are present in protests.
  5. The DNA in protists is associated with the histone proteins whereas it is not so in a bacteria.
  6. The genetic material of a bacteria is not surrounded by the protective membrane known as the nuclear membrane, on the other hand, the genetic material in the protists is surrounded by the nuclear membrane.
  7. Due to the absence of a nuclear membrane, bacteria are classified as prokaryotes, on the other hand, protists are classified as eukaryotes because they contain a nuclear membrane.
  8. Nutrients can be gained either via autotrophic or heterotrophic modes whereas, in the case of protists, the modes could be photosynthesis, heterotrophic or both in protists.
  9. Bacteria do not have a different compartment for transcription, on the contrary, protists do have a different compartment for transcription and translation.
  10. Bacteria can be found habitating in any kind of environment whereas protists are only found in the moist environment.
  11. Bacteria are both beneficial and harmful to the human body.
  12. Bacteria helps in maintaining the food chain of the ecosystem by recycling nutrients, on the other hand, protests help in supplying oxygen.

Conclusion

The two organisms are microscopic organisms. Bacteria and Protists, both are equally important for the environment and ecosystem. Both the organisms belong to the common ancestors, however, they have vast differences in them. They differ in their evolution processes. 

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References

  1. https://mmbr.asm.org/content/84/1/e00092-19.abstract
  2. https://www.koreascience.or.kr/article/JAKO200933063803168.page