Bacteria are at the center of all life on Planet Earth and are the main building blocks that make living organisms the way they are.
And the mitochondria, which is found in most organisms that generate energy in the cell, and chloroplast – the solar energy that is found in plants can be traced to their bacterial ancestors. These specialized microbes laid the foundations of the biodiversity we live in among them.
Microbes are part of all multicellular organisms where they perform countless essential functions for life, including nutrient digestion and signaling processes. Microbes, which are an integral part of living organisms, are called microbiomes. Microbial occurs in the simplest creatures like the hydra and the complex as humans, elephants and trees.
How the Victorians help explain our obsession with the microbe
Microbes are part of the early stages of development and play an important role in the functioning of the human body. The human microbe consists of viruses, bacteria and fungi residing in communities in and on the body.
Although these microbes have always been a part of human anatomy, they are only recently visualized as technological advances as tools for molecular imaging and next generation genetic sequencing. We can now visualize these microbial subjects as they work and perform vital tasks.
The human microbe is one of the largest organs weighing about two to three kilograms in an adult. Although it is invisible, the microbiome makes its physical presence apparently with occasional noises and odors.
The microbiome gives us the unique features we possess. The microbial structure changes throughout our lives, and the reduction in the number and variety of its components is associated with disease and aging. In fact, healthy individuals and centenarians are known to have a wider variety of microbial partners than unhealthy individuals.
The microbe works in harmony with various organs in the body and helps for proper functioning of the person. For example, microbes living on the surface of the skin protect against invasion of opportunistic bacteria and pathogens. These microbes also help in healing wounds, strengthening the immune system and producing volatile signal molecules needed for communication in the body and the nervous system.
The gut that contains the greatest amount of microbes can not fulfill its digestive debt without microbial help. Microbes in the gut have a variety of enzymes designed to absorb complex carbohydrates and extract nutrients from the foods we consume. Average man consumes up to 60 tonnes of food during his life. The digestive tract, devoid of microbes, will require even more food, a situation the world would prefer to avoid.
Intestinal microbes also produce vitamins such as B12 (mainly for metabolic activity), hormones, neurotransmitters and a variety of metabolites that are an integral part of normal body processes. They also play an active role in the fate of the medicines we swallow. In fact, medicines taken orally interact with the intestinal microbial before they reach the desired goals.
Molecular units, such as short-chain fatty acids derived from microbes, are part of our normal development process.
Microbes are unique to both the individual and the body where they are located. For example, the oily forehead is a preferred residence site for Propionibacteria, while the wet nose is populated by Corynebacteria. The stomach has acid-tolerant bacteria, while the colon harbors anaerobic inhabitants.
Understanding the microbe
This invisible body is modulated by various factors, including parental genetics, geography, food, and lifestyle. Although fetal microbiosis is at an early stage, it is clear that a person living in an urban area will have a different microbial community in relation to the peasant. Because the microbe is like any other organ, the breakdown of its cellular components – known as dysbiosis – can trigger a number of diseases such as obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, dermatitis and neurological imbalance. Some of these diseases can be cured by the use of probiotics and prebiotics designed to regulate microbial imbalance.
Although this invisible organ was only recently visualized, disclosure of its functions combined with an understanding of its origin can lead to major changes in health, health education, nutrition and personal traits.
The identification of each microbial ingredient and its role will allow the classification of each individual according to its type or type; it has the potential to be as revolutionary as the discovery of blood groups in the twentieth century. Microbial fingerprint would lead to seismic change in quality and health delivery.
Manipulation and enrichment of selected microbial communities – called microbiomes – will improve health, rejuvenate organs, improve traits, and lead to more effective drugs.
Microbial supplements for skin diseases and microbe-enriched nutritional supplements are now routinely touted as personalized treatments. Traceability of microbes and their metabolites can become a common molecular strategy for identifying individuals and even their behavior.
We are right at the dawn of a health revolution that has the potential to be a public changer.