Being a microbiologist how can I not write today. Today, June, 27 is celebrated as World Microbiome Day. A day when we celebrate the benefits of microbes on us and also spread awareness among general public.
https://worldmicrobiomeday.com/resources/ is the website dedicated to serve the purpose. On this website you will find everything related to microbes. Before going into details of microbiome and understand the term, it’s important to know what are microbes.
What are Microbes?
Microbes are the short form for microorganisms. Microorganisms are very small living organisms that cannot be seen by human eyes. Bacteria, virus, algae, fungi, etc are considered as microorganisms.
All microorganisms are not harmful. There are many microorganisms that are useful to human beings. When we talk about microbiome we generally considere the useful microbes only.
Have you ever imagined how many bacteria or fungi are present inside and outside our body? Our skin contains several bacteria, our gut harbors many bacteria, etc and are important for our body to perform the normal function.
It is very important to have the appropriate numbers of microorganisms on and inside our body. It is important to have a balanced Microbiomes. If the numbers of microorganisms decrease or increase, infection might occur.
What is Microbiome?
Microbiome, also known as microbiota is the collection of different microorganisms that coexist on the human body and helps our body to perform its normal function. Our body harbors trillions of microorganisms that actually protects us from other harmful microorganisms and diseases.
There is a similar term known as microbiota. Microbiota and Microbiome are basically the same thing. When we talk about Microbiome, we consider the whole living organism as a host while in case of microbiota we talk about the specific area in that environment.
For example, a whole human body harboring microorganisms is a Microbiome while the microorganisms present in the intestine or the gut is reffered as microbiota.
The microbiota of skin differs from the microbiota of the gut. It’s not that only we, the humans have the microbiota. Other vertebrates like cow, dogs, cats, etc also have their own microbiota. The rumen present inside the cattles as a part of their digestive system has its own set of microorganisms that helps in the digestion of food. The rumen microbiota is necessary for the cattles and generally consists of wide variety of microorganisms.
What is Balanced Microbiome?
As we know that excess of anything is bad, it is same with microorganisms also. Having less or more numbers of microorganisms ka not good for our body.
Thus, balanced Microbiome refers to the appropriate amount of microbes that are optimal for the function of our body.
Microbiome is a very vast topic as the microorganisms are. It’s not possible to cover the whole topic in one or two posts. I would like to give an example of Microbiome so that it’s easy to understand.
Example of Microbiome:
Propionibacterium acnes are common bacteria residing in our skin, specifically in the sebum rich area below the hair follicles. These bacteria are important to us. These bacteria do not allow other opportunistic bacteria to grow on our skin and thereby protect our skin from other harmful bacteria. When there is dirt and dead cells accumulation in the pores of sebum glands, these microbiota feed on them and their number increases. There are other bacteria also that live coexist with Propionibacterium acnes. The rise in the number of these bacteria is also one of the main reasons for acne development.
Apart from the above given examples, Microbiome has many other roles too. It’s important for us to thank these microbiota at least once in a year for the tremendous job they do for us. Thus, today is that day. I thank the Microbiome for their role in keeping us healthy.
Microbiome is a very interesting topic in itself. I would love to write more on it and the more you learn about it, more it fascinates you.