Difference Between Parasite and Bacteria (With Table)

Parasites are living organisms that completely rely on other organisms for food. The organisms that they use for their living are called Hosts. The Parasites further get classified into three major categories: protozoa, helminths, and ectoparasites. Bacteria are single-celled organisms existing inside and outside another organism.

Parasite vs Bacteria

The difference between parasites and bacteria is that the Parasite needs a living organism as a host to survive and get their needs fulfilled from whereas the Bacteria may or may not need a host. Bacteria can also survive in environmental conditions with harsh surroundings.

Parasites seek nourishment and shelter on their and exists in a symbiotic relationship with them. The organism acting as host is generally a different species and is much bigger than Parasites in size. Some Parasites even use their host for their complete life cycle which can cause harm to it.

Bacteria are single-celled organisms that live and reciprocate in great numbers. Bacteria lacks membrane and the nuclear material inside it is scattered within the cell. It can use any organic compound and some inorganic compounds to obtain food. It is capable of adapting to almost every ecological condition.

Comparison Table Between Parasite and Bacteria

Parameters of ComparisonParasiteBacteria  
Cell StructureIt possesses well-bounded cellular walls. The nucleus is enclosed within nuclear walls so that the material does not lie scattered.It does not have distinct organelles or a well-defined nucleus. It is a simple cell with scattered nuclear matter.
Number of CellsIt is mostly multicellular (except protozoa) and is categorized under Eukaryotes due to its complex cell structure.It is unicellular and is categorized under Prokaryotes due to its primitive cell structure.
Need of HostIt needs a host to survive. It can exist inside or outside the host but has to be connected to it.It might or might not need a host and derive the food from the surroundings, can exist inside or outside a body or even on the surfaces.
SizeThey are bigger in size and can be seen through naked eyes.It is smaller in size and some of them are microscopic.
Nature of the OrganismThey are always pathogenic. They can replicate inside or outside host but exist when they are few in number.They can be sometimes harmful but mostly beneficial. They exist in millions and form colonies.

What is Parasite?

Parasites are organisms that exist in symbiosis with another organism as host to seek food and shelter from them for survival. This symbiotic relationship is beneficial to parasites but harmful to the host. They are pathogenic in nature, that is, capable of causing disease. It is easily visible to naked eyes.

Protozoa and Helminths affect the human body by affecting the guts and the gastrointestinal system causing problems like Diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fatigue. Malaria that gets transmitted by mosquitoes is due to Plasmodium (type of protozoa) that gets developed in mosquitoes and when humans get bit it destroys the RBCs impacting organ function.

Helminths are also known as worms and do not multiply inside the human body. They are further classified as flatworms, roundworms, and hookworms. Hookworms are found in soil and can get into human bodies through it so it is important to wear appropriate footwear to prevent the problems caused by it.

Ectoparasites like ticks, lice, fleas, and mites get attached to the skin and live their for a prolonged period causing itchiness. These diseases by parasites can be prevented by improving sanitation and cleanliness at places.

What is Bacteria?

Bacteria is the most primitive form of life existing in nature. They can survive in any ecological condition and might or might not need a host to survive. Bacteria exist on every surface in colonies. Every living being carries millions of bacteria and most of them exist in the gut and skin and prove beneficial for us. They help in the breakdown of food and provide protective effects to the immune system.

Some species of bacteria are pathogenic and can cause infectious diseases like cholera, syphilis, and also some respiratory diseases that might prove fatal. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections in humans and plants. Bacteria proves to be useful in food and waste treatment.

Also, bacteria plays a vital role in nitrogen fixation as it converts atmospheric Nitrogen to useful nitrogen in soil which provides nutrition to plants. It also plays a key role in the mining sector to recover metals like gold, copper, and palladium. It can convert biomass into bioenergy by decomposition of organic matter into usable energy. Hence, bacteria proves to be beneficial and helpful in most aspects of life.

Main Differences Between Parasite and Bacteria

  1. Parasites have well bounded cellular walls. The nucleus is enclosed within walls so the material does not lie scattered. Bacteria does not have distinct organelles or well defined nucleus.
  2. Parasites are mostly multicellular (except protozoa) and categorized under Eukaryotes due to its complex cell structure. Bacteria are unicellular organisms and categorized under Prokaryotes due to its primitive structure.
  3. Parasites needs host to survive. It can exist inside or outside the host but has to be connected to it. Bacteria might or might not need host. It derives its food from the surroundings and can exist inside or outside a body or even on the surfaces.
  4. Parasites are larger in size and are visible through naked eyes. Bacteria are small in size and some of them are microscopic.
  5. Parasites are always pathogenic. They can replicate inside or outside host but exist when they are few in number. Bacteria can be sometimes harmful but mostly beneficial. It exist in millions in number and form colonies.

Conclusion

In the classification on Animal Kingdom, Parasites come under Kingdom Animalia whereas Bacteria under Monera. Parasites and Bacteria both can harm human body under some circumstances so as a preventive measure, one is always advised to keep their surroundings clean and maintain proper sanitation and hygiene. Both bacterial as well as parasitic diseases are curable through proper medical treatment.

Bacteria is considered to be most primitive form of life and it exists everywhere that our human minds can think of. It is involved in almost every process and is capable of nourishing itself from any organic and some inorganic compounds.

When parasites get attached to animal or human body they live there for prolonged periods causing irritation and in some cases rupturing the internal tissues as they use the body as per their need which proves to be harmful for the other one.  

References

  1. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0020-7519(96)80070-1
  2. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.micro.55.1.105

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