We have company: how gut bacteria influence, health and disease

Kang, Gagandeep (2016) We have company: how gut bacteria influence, health and disease. i wonder.... pp. 122-126. ISSN 2582-1636

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Discoveries made in the last five years or so have shown that we are introduced to micro- organisms even before our birth. Contrary to earlier belief that the mother’s womb protects a developing foetus against micro-organisms, we now know that bacteria from the mother’s blood can enter the amniotic fluid (that surrounds the developing foetus). The type and numbers of these bacteria have a huge bearing not only on pregnancy outcomes but also on the immune system of the new-born. Our association with microbes becomes more rapid at the time of our birth. A new-born is exposed to micro- organisms in almost everything it makes contact with – its mother’s birth canal, skin and breast-milk; other food; and the environment. All its exposed surfaces, including its skin, eyes, ears, reproductive tract and gut, are quickly colonised by microbes. The nature and size of these initial microbial populations can vary initially with changes in diet and environment, but as a child grows older, these microbial communities become more stable in composition. The gut of an adult has over thousands of species of micro-organisms of all kinds – bacteria, fungi and viruses, and contributes nearly 2 kilograms of her body weight!

Item Type: Articles in APF Magazines
Authors: Kang, Gagandeep
Document Language:
Uncontrolled Keywords: Science, Science education, Science classroom, Micro biology, micro-organisms, Disease
Subjects: Social sciences > Education > Science education
Divisions: Azim Premji University > University Publications > i Wonder...
Full Text Status: Public
Related URLs:
URI: http://publications.azimpremjifoundation.org/id/eprint/1287
Publisher URL:

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