Writing Exercise #3 – Gut Microbes

  1. Prebiotics and probiotics are two popular treatments used to transform the gut microbial community. Prebiotics indirectly increase growth by providing nutrients necessary for the already present microbes to flourish and increase population size. Probiotics directly increase growth by adding microbes themselves to the gut. While the probiotic method is commonly used to treat obesity or ulcerative colitis, it is not through its growth in numbers that healing is achieved, but rather through the effects the microbes have on the gut interactions surrounding them.
  2. Faecal microbial transplantation (FMT) is increasing in popularity for those needing to restructure their gut microbiota. This process restores levels of microbes by transplanting microbes from a healthy subject’s faecal matter into the gut flora of the infected patient. This method has been proven useful for treating several inflammatory diseases
  3. Antibiotics are commonly prescribed for those with an infection. However, antibiotics typically kill all bacteria it comes into contact with, thus disrupting natural levels of gut microbiota. Instead, doctors could transplant antimicrobial-producing microbes into the gut of infected patients. These bacteriocins would be gentler on the gut microbial community since their antimicrobial properties are usually specific to certain types of pathogens. The natural gut flora would not be harmed.
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