WHAT’S IN YOUR MI­CRO­BIOME?

Focus-Science and Technology - - MICROBIOME -

Bac­te­ria 1

The gut mi­cro­biome is a com­plex, ev­er­chang­ing ecosys­tem of micro­organ­isms that col­lec­tively can weigh up to 2kg – heav­ier than an adult hu­man brain. Your throng­ing gut world is dom­i­nated by about 100 tril­lion bac­te­ria, some are nasty, but many are es­sen­tial to keep­ing our minds and bod­ies func­tion­ing healthily.

Fungi 2

Less is un­der­stood about what sci­en­tists re­fer to as the ‘silent pop­u­la­tion’ of gutre­sid­ing fungi, such as Can­dida

al­bi­cans. They only ac­count for about one per cent of the mi­cro­biome, but they live in sym­bio­sis with the bac­te­ria and other mi­crobes. Sci­en­tists are only just start­ing to study their role in the gut com­mu­nity in terms of dis­ease sus­cep­ti­bil­ity and im­mu­nity.

Yeasts 3

Yeasts are sim­ply sin­gle-celled fungi. The afore­men­tioned Can­dida al­bi­cans is a yeast, which is why too much of it can be re­ferred to as both a yeast and a fun­gal in­fec­tion.

Pro­to­zoa 4

Th­ese sin­gle-celled or­gan­isms were once clas­si­fied as an­i­mals; they can move in­de­pen­dently, be preda­tory and feed on or­ganic mat­ter. Most of them are harm­less, and some are even be­ing in­ves­ti­gated as po­ten­tial do­good­ers, but oth­ers can cause ter­ri­ble di­ar­rhoea and are a strong rea­son to wash your hands be­fore eat­ing.

Ar­chaea 5

Th­ese tiny won­ders are more usu­ally found liv­ing in hot springs. But among the hand­ful that in­habit the hu­man gut are im­por­tant mem­bers of the ‘A-team’ of mi­crobes, which sup­port the com­plex process of di­ges­tion for us by play­ing an es­sen­tial role in break­ing down com­plex sug­ars.

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