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Definition of Normal flora

Normal flora Definition from Encyclopedia Dictionaries & Glossaries
Wikipedia English - The Free Encyclopedia
The human microbiome (or human microbiota) is the aggregate of microorganisms, a microbiome that resides on the surface and in deep layers of skin, in the saliva and oral mucosa, in the conjunctiva, and in the gastrointestinal tracts. They include bacteria, fungi, and archaea. One study indicated they outnumber human cells 10 to 1. Some of these organisms perform tasks that are useful for the human host. However, the majority have been too poorly researched for us to understand the role they play, however communities of microflora have been shown to change their behavior in diseased individuals. Those that are expected to be present, and that under normal circumstances do not cause disease, but instead participate in maintaining health, are deemed members of the normal flora. Though widely known as "microflora", this is, in technical terms, a misnomer, since the word root "flora" pertains to plants, and biota refers to the total collection of organisms in a particular ecosystem. Recently, the more appropriate term "microbiota" is applied, though its use has not eclipsed the entrenched use and recognition of "flora" with regard to bacteria and other microorganisms. Both terms are being used in different literature. Studies in 2009 questioned whether the decline in biota (including microfauna) as a result of human intervention might impede human health. Most of the microbes associated with humans appear to be not harmful at all, but rather assist in maintaining processes necessary for a healthy body. A surprising finding was that at specific sites on the body, a different set of microbes may perform the same function for different people. For example, on the tongues of two people two entirely different sets of organisms will break down sugars in the same way. This suggests that medical science may be forced to abandon the "one only" microbe model of infectious disease, and rather pay attention to functions of groups of microbes that have somehow gone awry.

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