Gut Microbiota

Gut flora, or gut microbiota, or gastrointestinal microbiota, is the complex community of microorganisms that live in the digestive tracts of humans and animals, including insects. The gut metagenome is the aggregate of all the genomes of gut microbiota. The relationship between some gut flora and humans is not merely commensal (a non-harmful coexistence), but rather a mutualistic relationship. An enterotype is a classification of living organisms based on its bacteriological ecosystem in the human gut microbiome. The gut microbiota plays a key role in digestion, metabolism and immune function, and has a widespread impact beyond the gastrointestinal tract. Changes in the biodiversity of the gut microbiota are associated with far-reaching consequences on host health and development. Diet, functional foods, and gut microbiota transplantation are areas that have yielded some therapeutic success in modulating the gut microbiota and warrant further investigation of their effects on various disease states.

The four dominant bacterial phyla in the human gut are:

  1. Firmicutes
  2. Bacteroidetes
  3. Actinobacteria
  4. Proteobacteria

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