[ mahy-kroh-bahy-ohm ]


, Microbiology.
  1. the totality of microorganisms and their collective genetic material present in or on the human body or in another environment:

    The wide diversity of species that make up the microbiome is hard to fathom.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of microbiome1

Coined 2001 by Joshua Lederberg, American molecular biologist; micro(be) + biome

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Compare Meanings

How does microbiome compare to similar and commonly confused words? Explore the most common comparisons:

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Example Sentences

I see potential in the emerging field of personalized nutrition, which aims to combine new knowledge about such compounds with insights from an individual’s own genetics and microbiome to deliver customized dietary guidelines and plans.

One of the strangest findings was that astronauts’ gut microbiomes managed to bring space microbes found on the ISS back to Earth.

If so, this could be another way the ants’ microbiome makes a huge difference to the insects’ survival.

The worm, like us, has a gut and a microbiome, but that microbiome has a mere 100,000 or so members.

We already know that the microbiomes of modern hunter-gatherers and modern urban dwellers look quite different from each other.

One of the most fascinating findings is that the microbiome influences body weight.

“In the Human Microbiome Project, there were only 24 obese individuals out of 200,” Watson told The Daily Beast.


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More About Microbiome

What is a microbiome?

A microbiome is a full collection of microorganisms and the genetic material of a living being or a specific environment.

The term microbiome is most often used in reference to the human microbiome, and people will often discuss the microbiome without specifying that they mean the human variety. However, every living being has a microbiome.

The microbiome includes all of the cells that make up a living body and all of the microorganisms that exist within it that promote healthy life processes, such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses. For example, there are hundreds of millions of bacteria and other organisms within the body that promote digestion, protect against pathogens and disease, and extract toxins from the body. All negative or outside organisms that enter the body also effectively become a part of the microbiome and will be considered when evaluating someone’s condition or health.

Some of the first bacteria identified as living inside the bodies of healthy humans were E. coli, which aids digestion in the large intestine, and Veillonella parvula, which converts some harmful acids in the mouth into less harmful ones. In 2007, the scientific community launched a project called the Human Microbiome Project in order to learn more about these microorganisms. 

Example: The human microbiome includes so much more than bacteria and viruses.

Where does microbiome come from?

The first records of the term microbiome come from around the early 2000s. It was coined by American biologist Joshua Lederberg and combines the term microbe, referring to microorganisms, and biome, which is a “complex community of distinctive species maintained under certain conditions in a particular region.”

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What are some other forms related to microbiome?

What are some words that share a root or word element with microbiome

What are some words that often get used in discussing microbiome?

How is microbiome used in real life?

Microbiome is almost always used in scientific contexts and discussions.


Try using microbiome!

True or False?

A microbiome is determined only by the cells that make up the brain.