During this research project, I will be educating myself and others about microbes and the ‘pros and cons’ about bacterium and how they affect us. We are aware that microbes are found nearly everywhere on the face of the Earth, but when we consider the thought of our personal interaction with microbes – we panic. This essay will not only stress the importance of microbes but downplay the obsession of cleanliness and wanting 0% of bacteria because without specific microbes, our human body would struggle with growing and remaining healthy.
‘Guardians of the Gut’ is the deepened explanation of how microbes work within our gigantic multi-cellular system and how they affect us – whether the effects are positive or negative in any form. The decision of working on this topic was evident when I found myself looking deeply into the same titled exhibit on the Royal Society site. I was intrigued to know there was a ‘beneficial bacterium’ which affected our wellbeing and growth in numerous ways by ingesting this very bacterium hence why I took it upon myself to delve into this but also educate myself more about how microbes work and how our very immune system builds this stronghold to fight against it. Moreover, inspiring my own subtitle ‘Microbe Madness’. A microbe is defined to be 1 ‘a microorganism, especially a bacterium causing disease or fermentation’ which cannot be seen with the naked eye and must be viewed using a microscope. There are three distinct types of microbes which are called ‘Bacteria’, ‘Fungi’ and ‘Virus’, which are all single-celled eukaryotic organisms. Fungi is the biggest sized microbe with virus being the smallest sized microbe. 2
Microbes have existed for billions of years much longer than humans have existed for, showing that all living organisms possibly evolved from the earliest microbes which existed on the face of the Earth. There are a wide range of microbes that are countless because the family of them continue to grow and grow even as we speak! There is no due end of time for them anytime soon, so their population will continue to grow overtime. This is a result of a large ‘networking’ scheme between microbes, they can pass on various genes between many species.
Previously mentioned, microbes are either essential to the growth of humans or toxic, potentially leading to death. 3 For example, within yogurts it contains healthy bacteria which cleanses the intestines and ensures that bloating and diarrhoea, etc is prevented, enhancing the functioning and clearance of the digestive system. However, there are bacteria and viruses such as E. coli which infects our systems and could kill if not treated quickly and properly. Overall, this shows that even though microbes are one of the smallest living organisms on Earth, they can do things can which are unimaginable for such minuscular cells to do. Goes to show that microbes can do things that humans cannot do themselves.
I cannot stress the importance of microbes within the human body as much as the researchers of the Royal Society are doing. As previously stated, microbes are essential for our growth and well-being in many ways which will be explained and shared with you. These organisms live nearly everywhere on our body such as our skin, mouth and our digestive gut system. For example, within our human gut, the gut works to protect and collect nutrients to ensure that the functioning is smooth running. Within our gut, we humans ingest food and absorb the essential nutrients then release any waste through excretion. In addition, it fights against any pathogenic microbes which can inhibit the function of the gut or possibly bring about infections or problems that can affect the person in the long run.
Upon our skin, there are roughly over a thousand microbes, such as fungi, viruses and bacteria and other forms of microbes which are comfortably residing on our body. A bacterium which protects the skin is referred to Bacillus subtilis – this bacterium can produce a toxin poison called ‘Bacitracin’ which helps fight against any unfamiliar microbes. Another example is within the female upper genital tract, the chance of bacterial vaginosis (BV) occurring is due to the overgrowth of harmful bacteria within the vagina – but there are also unharmful bacteria which are found in the vagina as well. These unharmful bacteria as well as other microbes are classified as the vaginal microbiota which plays an essential role that makes sure that certain diseases or infections does not occur within the vagina. 4
Guardians of the Gut’s purpose
My research based on ‘Guardians of the Gut’- I personally believed that the researchers’ purpose of the exhibit is to ensure that people are educated that our guts from early years contain essential microbes – mostly bacterium which plays a role in the function which happens in our digestive system and body in general. Moreover, they want to possibly defeat this generic concept that all bacteria we come across is not good for our body and the combination is just not good at all. So, through this information, they can inform them of the importance of ingesting the correct food which contains these bacteria. From the video which was attached to the website for “Guardians of the Gut” 5, this video states the bacterium which are found in the gut and how they function for different processes within our body. For example, it states that from birth we have a bacterium called ‘Bifi’ which “breaks down milk so that other bacteria can live within us”. Therefore, through the course of human development, the bacteria within our body also develops and evolves to adapt to our age and our body’s new ability of controlling thing and many more. Through creating a preview video of what the exhibit will entail, it draws the attention of the attendees already as they would want to know how the researchers will dig deeper into this brief information and present it in person with a great amount of resources – possibly through technology or creation.
I strongly believe that this research will bring about a better view on how essential bacteria is for humans – although it has powerful cons but through this research, I want to ensure that the advantages and disadvantages are at an equal perception to my audience. Rather than the ignorance and obsession of wanting no microbes found in sight to their body. It is my personal objective to not only educate myself but others like previously stated- it is great if we learn much more information about how our body function and the necessary means to contain our well-being and prevent anything negative happening to us. However, the risks of creating this project is that many people might not agree with the facts and information I have mentioned during this essay and they may also ignore what I am trying to stress about the essential need of microbes with our special human body. To conclude, I do wish that this essay spreads the information which people were never told about due to the negative connotation around microbes.