What is the Microbiome?

Micro” means something invisible to the naked eye, whilst “biome” refers to a collection of organisms that live in a particular habitat. Therefore, the microbiome is defined as the collection of microbes (and their genes) within a community.

These microbes include:

  • Bacteria
  • Archaea
  • Fungi
  • Protists
  • Viruses

Since these microbes are all over our body¹, we have different microbiomes, such as the skin, oral and gut microbiome – the latter of which is the most densely populated.


  1. Huttenhower C, Gevers D, Knight R, et al. Structure, function and diversity of the healthy human microbiome. Nature. 2012;486(7402):207-214. doi:10.1038/nature11234.

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