Related topics: bacteria

Bile acid-triggered bacterial adaptation characterized

When bacteria enter the digestive tracts of their hosts, including humans, they encounter a highly acidic environment. Bacteria have evolved elegant mechanisms to survive and colonize this habitat, such as highly resistant ...

Protecting probiotics from the stomach

The small intestine is a hotbed of microbial activity and a target of probiotic treatments for diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome, among other conditions. To make it to the intestine, though, ...

Intestinal bacteria produce electric current from sugar

Intestinal bacteria can create an electric current, according to a new study from Lund University in Sweden. The results are valuable for the development of drugs, but also for the production of bioenergy, for example.

Signs of bacĀ­teria in the bovine fetus

Contrary to earlier assumptions, the intestines of newborn calves are not sterile, but contain DNA from various bacteria. Bacteria or their fragments originating in the mother may be significant to the development of the ...

Fruit flies farm their own probiotics

The role of the microbiome is increasingly recognized as part of wellbeing. The most diverse and significant bacteria community is located in the intestines. It is believed that the manipulation of the microbiota can contribute ...

Methods for tracking microbial faecal pollution in water

In a project supported by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, the microbiologist Andreas Farnleitner is looking at new methods for analysing faecal pollution in water. Using DNA analytics, the scientist aims to develop comprehensive ...

Chaining up diarrhoea pathogens

Researchers have clarified how vaccinations can combat bacterial intestinal diseases: vaccine-induced antibodies in the intestine chain up pathogens as they grow in the intestine, which prevents disease and surprisingly also ...

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Gut flora

The gut flora consists of the microorganisms that normally live in the digestive tract of animals. The gut flora includes much of the human flora. The term "gut flora" is interchangeable with intestinal microflora and intestinal microbiota.

The average human body, consisting of about 1013 (10,000,000,000,000 or about ten trillion) cells, has about ten times that number of microorganisms in the intestines. The metabolic activity performed by these bacteria is equal to that of a virtual organ causing some to describe the gut bacteria as a "forgotten" organ.

Bacteria make up most of the flora in the colon and 60% of the dry mass of feces. Somewhere between 300 and 1000 different species live in the gut, with most estimates at about 500. However, it is probable that 99% of the bacteria come from about 30 or 40 species. Fungi and protozoa also make up a part of the gut flora, but little is known about their activities.

Research suggests that the relationship between gut flora and humans is not merely commensal (a non-harmful coexistence), but rather is a mutualistic, symbiotic relationship. Though people can survive with no gut flora, the microorganisms perform a host of useful functions, such as fermenting unused energy substrates, training the immune system, preventing growth of harmful species, regulating the development of the gut, producing vitamins for the host (such as biotin and vitamin K), and producing hormones to direct the host to store fats. However, in certain conditions, some species are thought to be capable of causing disease by producing infection or increasing cancer risk for the host.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA