microbiome research anaerobic chambers 1 | Bio-technical resources
microbiome research anaerobic chambers 2 | Bio-technical resources

What are Microbiomes?

The total population of microorganisms living together in a particular habitat is considered a microbiome.

Microbiomes in the Human Body

The human microbiome is the collection of all the microorganisms living in or on the human body. Scientists classify them into communities based on where they colonize; larger ones include the skin, gut, and lungs. Each person’s microbiome is home to trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and viruses — all of which work together to help keep the body at homeostasis for a healthy person.

Importance of Microbiome Research

Over the past decade, improvements in technology have allowed scientists to discover the immense impact microbiome research will have on finding new treatments for disease, by studying how they interact with our bodies.

For example, medical researchers have found links between changes in gut bacteria (residing in the digestive tract) and symptoms of type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and many types of cancer.

Research and development of microbiome-based therapies can be broken down into 3 main focuses:

Probiotics

Probiotics are the “good” types of microorganisms that live in the body, mostly bacteria and yeasts, that provide benefits — such as fighting off pathogenic bacteria, digesting food, and producing vitamins.

Probiotics commonly refer to supplement products people consume in order to grow their population in the body, i.e. have a healthy “gut flora.” Consuming foods (such as yogurt, sauerkraut) and beverages (such as kombucha, kefir) that contain probiotics also supports maintaining population sizes of beneficial microorganisms.

Prebiotics

Prebiotics are compounds in food that aid in the growth and activity of the body’s probiotics. The most common types of prebiotics are nondigestible plant fibers that provide benefits to good bacteria as they pass through the digestive system, by serving as a substrate during fermentation.

Drug Stability

The hydrolytic and reductive reactions of the microbiome in your gut affect the way it metabolizes oral medications, and therefore how well they achieve their desired effect. The gut microbiome can degrade a drug, making it less effective; be used to activate a drug; or help modulate the enzymes that metabolize a drug.

For example, drug manufacturers must take precautions in drug formulations to ensure they aren’t degraded under the conditions (such as pH level) of the upper gastrointestinal tract before they have time to take effect.

Working with Microbiomes

The biotechnology community makes strides daily in working with microbiomes to develop treatments for a variety of diseases, as well as to improve overall digestion and immune system function.

Drug manufacturers have realized they must consider the human microbiome’s impact on medication delivery when developing formulations for new medicines.

Using knowledge gained by the biotechnology community, companies are proactively using microbial strains and enzymes to aid in drug delivery and avoidance of toxicity.

Bio-Technical Resources’ Experience in Microbiome Research

BTR works with clients to develop cutting-edge technologies based on human microbiome research and development.

Because most of the microbes in the human gut microbiome are anaerobic, research requires an anaerobic chamber, which we are equipped with at BTR.

Our scientists are experienced in microbial isolation, phenotypical characterizations, DNA isolation, 16S RNA gene PCR and sequence analysis. We have essential equipment for microbiome research, including 96-well plate-based QIAGEN TissueLyser II for DNA isolation, Thermo NanoDrop 8000, and multiple Coy anaerobic chambers allowing concurrent use by 7 scientists.

BTR is available to provide services that support your anaerobic microbiology research and development needs. For confidential discussions, please contact us.