Bacteria are the most abundant cellular organisms in the world and they enable life on the planet by balancing the chemistry of where they live. These microbes that are an essential part of our lives are called the microbiota. They enable agriculture. They clean the water. They live inside animals, transforming indigestible material into food for their hosts. They live on the surface of plants, so the products of bacterial metabolism can enter the plants through the leaves. uBiota's mission is to help scientists of all kinds (including citizen scientists) use cutting-edge approaches to explore bacterial communities in dozens of environments.
This early-life microbiota establishes a healthy population of bacteria that your body learns to recognize and coexist with. What we eat, whom we live with, where we play, study and work all contribute to our microbiota for the rest of our lives.
The first links of the microbiota to human diseases (irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and autoimmune disorders) have come from studying the bacterial communities in the human digestive system: the gut microbiota. To learn more about microbiota and where they come from, click here.
Of course, some microbes can make us very ill. Doctors and scientists have known that pathogenic microbes make us sick since the 1800's. In much of the world, clean drinking water, vaccines and antibiotics have eliminated most of the burden of these diseases.
Bacteria can break down foods we can't, converting them into energy we can use. Others train our immune systems to be tolerant of innocuous challenges to our systems.
This is a new area of knowledge, and the importance of microbiology is far greater than we realized in the past. We are just beginning to understand how the environmental microbiology of our bodies affects our health. The exact types and patterns of bacteria that are the most compatible with health or illness aren't known yet, but we are tracking the research as it is released.
At uBiota, we have the technology that allows anyone to monitor the state of the microbiota in and around them. We are committed to enabling the exploration of your personal microbiota and helping you understand what science has to say about it.