Endospores are structures made by bacteria for survival purposes. Bacteria turn to endospore when they undergo stress, such as increase in heat or lack of nutrient. This process is known as sporulation. Endospores are small rounded, resting cells that form inside bacteria when conditions become unbearable. They have a tough coating which makes it resistant to radiation (like X-rays and UV light), chemicals, heat, salt concentration and extreme pH. It is not fully understood what causes it to be so resistant, but scientists are attributing these resistance to calcium dipicolinate found in endospore.
A Bacterial cell will make an endospore when it is low on food so it can survive until there is more food available in the environment. An endospore will actually contain all of the important parts of the bacterial cell, such as its DNA. Only 2 species of bacteria can undergo sporulation to form endospore. They are the bacillus and clostridium species. Bacteria that can form endospore, but are not in the endospore state are known to be in their vegetative state.
Endospores are highly dangerous bio-terrorist weapons. This is because they are smaller than the vegetative state. A bacterium, in itself, is already smaller than a eukaryotic cell. Therefore, considering the small size of endospore, a small volume of it can already contain a large quantity of it. Endospores are hard to eradicate.