What is the Microbiome?

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For many of us, the mention of bacteria conjures images of disease, death, and destruction. While some bacteria do cause disease, their poor reputation is mostly a result of bad PR.

Billions of years before plants and animals evolved, Earth was inhabited by much smaller beings. These creatures include bacteria, viruses, archaea, and fungi and have become known as “microorganisms” or “microbes”.

These microbes live in diverse and complex communities covering virtually every surface of the globe. We refer to these communities as the microbiome. Everything from plants and animals to soil and water has its own microbiome that plays an incredibly important role in that environment. For example, in humans, the microbiome assists in digestion and immune system development, while in soil, microbes turn waste products into food for plants.