If a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach…

| 8 Comments

…be prepared to take some disinfectants along for the ride.

One thing that is a total geek-out for me is reading about ecology. It’s one of the areas I wish I’d taken more coursework on back in college. At the time, it didn’t much interest me–studying species interactions was boring, and molecular biology was much more interesting. I’ve pretty much flipped 180 degrees on that one. (Well, molecular biology isn’t boring, but it’s moved off its rung as a top interest). My main interest as far as ecology is concerned is microbial ecology–especially of the ecosystem we like to call human beings. I’ve discussed bacterial ecology a bit previously (see here, here, and here, for instance), and a new study is once again making us reconsider what we know about our own personal microbial flora.

A new study published in PNAS examined microbial diversity in an unusual place–the human stomach. Though it’s now accepted that bacteria such as Helicobacter pylori can live in the stomach (and cause ulcers), the image of the stomach is still a pretty sterile place: too hostile to harbor much bacterial diversity.

Well, maybe not.

(Continue reading at Aetiology)

8 Comments

Ewwwwwwwwwwwwww.

(pushes dinner aside)

;)

That’s okay.

We get paid upon delivery, not consumption.

Tara,

Thanks!

Has anyone proposed testing some of these strains of bacteria in laboratory environments similar to the stomach?

How about similar tests on critters that eat carrion for a living. It be interesting to learn how/why they’re able to ingest much more bacteria and still not get sick.

I don’t know about the inner workings, but the reduction of skin bacteria is apparently the reason buzzards have bald heads.

Re #73028-73032

ROFL

Henry

I don’t know about the inner workings, but the reduction of skin bacteria is apparently the reason buzzards have bald heads.

Buzzards (genus Buteo) have feathered heads. Vultures often have bald heads.

jim Wrote:

How about similar tests on critters that eat carrion for a living. It be interesting to learn how/why they’re able to ingest much more bacteria and still not get sick.

See this paper: http://www.scielo.br/pdf/bjm/v34n3/v34n3a07.pdf

I looked around the Web for info on the pH of bird stomachs. One page reported an amazing 0.2 pH for the stomach of an unspecified species. Another said the avian pH range was typically 0.7-2.3.

I was surprised to find that carrion eaters don’t necessarily have the lowest pH numbers. Speed of digestion is also important for birds (a shrike can digest a mouse in 3 hours) and acidity helps.

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This page contains a single entry by Tara Smith published on January 17, 2006 12:57 PM.

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