About the episode
Stanford University researchers have been able to recreate a functional microbiome in the lab made up of more than 100 different types of bacteria.
The microbiome of our digestive system, made up of hundreds of different bacteria, affects our health in many ways. But the search for this complex mechanism is difficult. So it was not easy to achieve this in the lab. For example, all bacteria not only had to live in harmony with each other, but also had to be able to perform a specific task in order to function as a whole.
Another factor is that there is no single standard model for the microbiome. Colony composition varies from animal to animal. So they decided to use the most common bacteria. When the colony proved to be able to survive well in the lab, they examined whether the colony also survived in the bacteria-free digestive tract of a mouse.
The colony did a good job there, too. The few bacteria that did not feel at home in the group were excluded in a later mix. The group was then combined with a microbiome found from human faeces. In this case, too, the colony held out and they were able to improve the mix again.
The researchers now hope that through this artistic colony, they will be able to better understand the impact of each type of bacteria on our health and how we might one day be able to treat diseases by affecting colony formation.
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