Wednesday, 10 October 2018

We are not alone

In our body and on our skin live a lot of bacteria. On each human cell there are ten bacterial cells. This total of bacteria on and in our body is also called microbiome. Most of these are found in the large intestine: the intestinal flora. In an adult, the intestinal flora consists of 1014 (which are 100,000,000,000,000 bacteria). 99% thereof is strictly anaerobic.

These bacteria are useful:
  • The bacteria in the intestine treat indigestible vegetable food residues (fibers). This releases substances that stimulate the intestinal movement. 
  • In addition, the intestinal flora is important for the production of vitamin K. Vitamin K is absorbed into the blood through the intestinal mucosa. Vitamin K plays an important role in blood clotting. 
  • The entire intestinal wall is ‘occupied’ with bacteria. As long as there are enough good bacteria present in the intestinal flora, the bad ones have less chance to develop. 
  • In addition, there are many immune cells in your intestine. Your intestinal flora and your immune cells can affect each other. This interaction has an effect on your defense. For your immune system it is important to have many good bacteria in your intestines. 

Studying our intestinal flora has been very difficult until recently with classical culture and determination techniques. DNA research provided a solution and reading this from the DNA codes becomes faster and cheaper.
Because there are permanent bowel residents that are also easy to determine, like Escherichia coli and Streptococcus faecalis, these are used to detect contamination by feces. These bacteria are well recognizable in the pictures.

Source: Microbiology, Ine Wiersema
Prepared slide by Lieder

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