Origin of the microbiota
A few years ago now, the term ‘microbiota’ emerged into the world of academic research, but was highly severely unknown to professionals and the general population. In the past it was restricted to the ‘intestinal flora’.
Two major innovations in molecular biology and bioinformatics have revealed that the microbiota is a living ecosystem that holds a significant physiological role for the human body.
As a real community of micro-organisms it covers the internal mucous membranes from the ENT region till the urogenital tract and over the entire surface of our skin1.
Our whole being is marked by the microbiota. This is a universal rule.
Simple cohabitation or real partnership
The organic structure of the microbiota is naturally a game of dominance between the present micro-organisms (bacteria, fungi, viruses).
The idea has long been conveyed that the presence of bacteria is only a potential pathogenic source.
Our awareness was completely overturned about ten years ago.
The human microbiota in a few figures
The human microbiota represents huge figures5:
- 10 times more than the number of body cells
- 100 times more genes than the human genome
- 1000 different strains of micro-organisms
- 100,000 billion of living elements
1 Human Microbiome Project Consortium. Structure, function and diversity of the healthy human microbiome. Nature. 2012; 486: 207-214.
2 Ley RE, Turnbaugh PJ, Klein S, Gordon JI. Microbial ecology: human gut microbes associated with obesity. Nature. 2006; 444: 1022-1023.
3 Dethlefsen L, McFall-Ngai M, Relman DA. An ecological and evolutionary perspective on human-microbe mutualism and disease. Nature.
2007; 449: 811-818.
4 Marchesi JR, Adams DH, Fava F, Hermes GD, Hirschfield GM, Hold G, Quraishi MN, Kinross J, Smidt H, Tuohy KM, Thomas LV, Zoetendal EG, Hart A. The gut microbiota and host health: a new clinical frontier. Gut. 2016; 65: 330-339.
5 Bull MJ, Plummer NT. Part 1: The Human Gut Microbiome in Health and Disease. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2014; 13: 17-22.