How Much Do You Know about Microbes?

Out of the 500 to 1,000 species of microbes identified in people’s mouths, for example, only about 100 to 200 live in any one person’s mouth at any given moment. Only 13 percent of the species on two people’s hands are the same. Only 17 percent of the species living on one person’s left hand also live on the right one… Lungs have traditionally been considered to be sterile because microbiologists have never been able to rear microbes from them. A team of scientists at Imperial College London recently went hunting for DNA instead. Analyzing lung samples from healthy volunteers, they discovered 128 species of bacteria. Every square centimeter of our lungs is home to 2,000 microbes.

Full article on new discoveries about the microbes in our bodies.

Comments (3)

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  1. Virginia says:

    I’d hate to be the recipient of a “gut microbe transplant.” But, the idea does make sense. When I was a kid, taking a bath was the worst possible way to spend my time. I’m wondering if children’s aversion to being clean is a way of building their exposure to good microbes.

  2. Devon Herrick says:

    There is research showing obese individuals have different species of microbes in their guts than their more slender peers. I’ve often wondered if transplanting the microbes in a person’s intestines with a different strain could alter their metabolism and cause them to lose weight. Maybe less efficient bacteria could reduce food absorption. It’s been done successfully with rats. Patients would have to cleanse their colon with Golytely and then ingest (possibly daily) bacteria supplements in capsule form. The implications are sort of unpleasant. However, if anyone actually invents a successful treatment they will be rich.

    A few years ago there was a clinical trial into replacing the bacteria in people’s mouths with a strain that wouldn’t cause plaque, gingivitis and cavities. One of the things researchers wanted to know was whether or not the strain could be passed on to others by kissing, sharing spoons, etc. If it could be passed on from person to person, it would be harder for dentists to charge for the service.

  3. Larry C. says:

    I don’t know anything about microbes, but it sounds like we are awash with them. No pun intended.