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The Human Microbiome

The Human Microbiome

The human microbiome comprises the genomic content of organisms residing in particular sites in the body (Ogunrinola et al., 2020). It also refers to all the microorganisms (microbiota) living within and outside the human body. These microorganisms reside in various body sites, including the gut, the skin, and the gastrointestinal tract. Also, the microbiota consists of different species of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, archaea, and viruses. Notably, these microorganisms form significant interactions with the human body, playing a role in maintaining individuals’ general health and well-being (Ogunrinola et al., 2020).

A good example that illustrates the significant role of the human microbiome is the Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) bacterial infection. C. difficile form the gut microbiota. Research has shown that when these bacteria die or become inhibited by antibiotics, individuals get infections characterized by recurrent diarrhea, abdominal pains, and nausea (Rogers, 2016). Nonetheless, researchers have discovered that interventions for these infections include fecal transplantation of fecal matter from a healthy person to the patient to restore the population of C. difficile (Rogers, 2016). Also, Staphylococcus epidermidis bacteria on the human skin produce bacteriocin, a defense mechanism against potential pathogens (Parker et al., 2016).

Furthermore, some microorganisms enhance the host’s nutrition composition. For instance, bacteria found in the intestinal tract, such as Bifidobacterium spp., Bacteroides spp., and enterobacteria produce vitamins, like vitamin K that synthesize clotting factors such as prothrombin (Ogunrinola et al., 2020). In addition, research has found that microorganisms ingested with food provide the human microbiome with new genes essential in the digestion of new foods (Ursell et al., 2012). For instance, the gut bacteria Bacteroides plebeius contains a gene coding for a novel class of glycoside hydrolases that digests porphyrin (a polysaccharide found in red algae). This illustrates that such microbes contribute to digestion as metabolic tools in the human gut, allowing individuals to digest different substrates (Ursell et al., 2012).

In conclusion, the human microbiome comprises various microorganisms ranging from bacteria, fungi, archaea, and viruses. These microbes inhabit various sites and interact with the human body and are involved in essential roles such as prevention of infections and pathogenesis, nutrition enhancement, and digestion.


Ogunrinola, G., Oyewale, J., Oshamika, O., & Olasehinde, G. (2020). The Human Microbiome and Its Impacts on Health. International Journal of Microbiology2020, 1-7.

Parker, N., Schneegurt, M., Tu, A., Forster, B., & Lister, P. (2016). Microbiology. OpenStax.

Rogers, K. (2016). Human Microbiome. Retrieved 25 May 2022, from

Ursell, L., Metcalf, J., Parfrey, L., & Knight, R. (2012). Defining the human microbiome. Nutrition Reviews70, S38-S44.


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A microbiome consists of interacting communities of microorganisms and their genetic information. Our body is home to trillions of microorganisms, and under normal circumstances, these are beneficial or essential to our health. A great diversity of microbes make up our normal microbiota, which differs among individuals in different parts of our body and can change with age in the same individual.

The Human Microbiome

The Human Microbiome

Research and give specific examples of microbes that can be part of the normal human microbiota:

give the correct scientific name of the microbe (Genus species)
describe in which part of the body it is found
What benefit does it provide to human health?
Refer to Open Stax Microbiology, Chapter 4.1, for background information. Below are a few examples of videos; you can find many more.


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