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Working With Cells

A cell is the smallest unit of life. Some organisms (like yeast) consist of only a single cell. On the other hand, animals and plants can be made up of billions of cells.

Amazingly Small, Amazingly Complex!

A typical human cell is less than a tenth the size of the period at the end of this sentence. Yet a single cell contains billions of molecules of many different kinds. In spite of this very tiny size, you can think of a cell as a tiny chemical plant in which thousands of chemical reactions are going on every minute. This complex chemistry is what makes cells useful.

Putting Cells to Work

One use of the chemical reactions that can occur in cells is in breaking down pollutants. Another use is to synthesize antibiotics to cure infections. While a single cell can’t produce enough of a product such as an antibiotic to do any good, we can grow billions of cells in bioreactors. This is called bioprocessing, and people who work in this field  need to know biology, engineering, and manufacturing technology.