Your Biome – Your Personal Bacteria Collection

Your Body is Host to Around 100 Trillion Bacteria and they outnumber you 10 to 1. There Are Some Other, More Complex Creatures As Well.  They Perform a Number Of Critical Functions, and Identify You as Precisely as a Fingerprint.biome-mostly-bacteria

The bad guys grab all the headlines. The killer bacteria are out there and not to be trifled with. There is the present threat of MRSA, along with past threats from now vanquished killers like small pox, bubonic plague, and cholera.

However, not all bacteria are bad, and we are loaded to the gills with all sorts of beneficial varieties. Most people are aware that there are germs in their mouth and stomach, and on their skin, but few realize the extent of their personal microbial zoo. These are ‘friendly’ bacteria, at least usually. Those in the stomach and intestines aid digestion. They are involved in the synthesis of some vitamins, and they also crowd out bad bacteria.

Did you even know you had a personal biome? Or if you did, were you aware that it is different from everyone else’s? Your personal biome is largely the collection of microbes that inhabit your lungs and your digestive tract. (You are sterile on your insides, where bacteria can’t directly reach.) We are not talking about a few dozen or so germs. Your personal bacteria collection outnumbers your own cells ten to one. They are tiny, of course, and collectively weigh only about three pounds. Only? Think of three pounds of hamburger in your hand. That much! Bacteria.

For the most part, our personal biome is harmless or even helpful, but this is not always the case.  Many possible residential bacteria can be cancerous in of themselves, or increase susceptibility. The most notorious of this lot is H. pylori, responsible for stomach cancer and widespread in China.

Can you do anything about your own biome? You can certainly mess it up. A course of antibiotics is a weapon of mass destruction. Likewise, antibiotic hand soap or antibiotic laden meat (most factory meat) will destroy large portions of your biome.  However, if you do not smoke and eat a sensible diet, your biome will likely be a beneficial one.

biome-bacterial-zooSometimes a Good Biome Goes Bad

Your biome is changing constantly, diminishing with antibiotics, augmenting with each meal. It could, and sometimes does, become a problem. In such cases, it may cause digestion problems or excess gas. One new solutions is a biome transplant. This appears to be quite effective, but the details are not for the squeamish. And while techniques for such transplants are new and evolving we have already demonstrated the simultaneous transplantation of various cancers, autoimmune diseases and major metabolic diseases with the ‘fecal transplants’ done to save someone’s life.

You can also add to your biome with probiotics. These products typically advertise things like 50 Billion microbes per pill. Seem like a good deal, but up against the 100, trillion, this is not likely to have much effect.

Biome Left at the Scene of the Crimebiome-lady-hazmatbiome-lady-burglar

A person’s biome is so individualized that it is already being used forensically. A careful criminal may not leave any fingerprints at the scene of a crime, but unless he commits the act in a hazmat suit, he will leave his biome behind. Further, he will have picked up the biome of people he recently visited, as well as any potential victims, thus leaving both of trail of his past movements and getaway path.

Apparently a one night stay in a hotel room is enough to thoroughly populate it with your personal biome. This lingers until the next guest, so the scent as it were, remains hot for a while. Don’t forget, you pick up a few new friends in the bargain.

Supposedly the deflated football scandal of the 2015 pro football playoffs has been solved using forensic biome methods.

Of course, ‘biomic’ evidence isn’t used in court—yet.

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