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Biome, microbiome and microbiota ... Confused?

With this terminology now more readily used, we thought it time to revisit the definitions. In Part 1 we cover biome, microbiome and microbiota.

Conversation and terminology among the world experts regarding gastrointestinal or gut microorganisms is quite distinct. However, there are still misconceptions with their meanings and with their usage. Presented below is the current thinking:

Biome:
“a large naturally occurring community of flora and fauna occupying a major habitat eg forest or tundra” or desert.

Microbiome:
“the microorganisms in a particular environment” inside (respiratory, gastrointestinal, etc), on all surfaces (eyes, skin, etc) and immediately surrounding any animal’s body including individual people.

Microbiota:
“the microorganisms of a particular site” eg gut microbiota (gastrointestinal microbiota) or vaginal microbiota (extremely significant for introducing the immature immune system of babies – human and animal – to  microorganisms).