n South African Gastroenterology Review - Role of the gut microbiota in health and disease : review

Volume 9, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1812-1659



Until the 1960s, descriptions of these inhabitants were difficult, and Clostridium Perfringens, Lactobacilli, Enterococci and Escherichia coli were considered the predominant bacteria. However, newer techniques have now established that the human gut is colonized by microbial cells that outnumber the total humans cell mass by ten to one, and the gut microbial genetic repertoire (microbiome) to be approximately 100-times greater than that of the human host. Given the ability of the immune response to rapidly counter-infectious agents, it is striking that such a large density of microbes can exist in a state of synergy within the human host.

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