Microbiome refers to the collective genomes of the microorganisms in a particular environment, and microbiota is the community of microorganisms themselves.
The human microbiome is elaborate and dynamic. Our bodies are teeming with microbiota which can be found in and on our body; skin, blood, vagina and predominantly, the gastrointestinal tract. There are more than >150 times more microbial genes than mammalian genes with the microbiome often considered a virtual ‘’organ” of the human body. The microbiome influences many areas of human health ranging from innate immunity to chronic health conditions such as obesity and diabetes, to neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety. In addition, the microbiome may be seen as the only “organ” that can be altered without surgery. It is not surprising, therefore, that there is growing interest in pursuing ways to treat or reduce the risk of disease by altering the microbiome. There are multiple approaches that are proposed to alter the microbiome including (but not limited to) probiotics, prebiotics, diet-based therapies, and faecal transplantation. Assessment of these approaches requires both pre-clinical and clinical studies, likely to involve both animal model system and well-designed clinical trials.