Microbial ecology is the study of microbes and the interelationships between themselves, other organisms and their environment.
What is symbiosis?
Symbiosis, or a symbiotic relationship refers to two, substantially different organisms that live together closely. Symbionts form a symbiotic relationship.
What is commensalism?
A form of symbiotic relationship where one symbiont attains benefit from the relationship and the other is indifferent, neither being hurt nor harmed.
What is mutualism?
A symbiotic relationship in which both symbionts attain mutual benefit, although not always equal, from the relationship.
What is parasitism?
Parasitism is when one organism (parasite) attains benefit from a symbiotic relationship that harms or hinds the another organism (the host).
What are indigenous microflora?
Indigenous microflora are the microbes that exist normally within a healthy person (or organism). They are either commensual or mutual symbionts.
Where are most of the indigenous microflora found?
Ears and eyes
Upper respiratory tract
Which parts of the body are usually sterile?
Blood, lymph, CSF and most internal organs and tisses.
What are some benefits of indigenous microflora for humans?
Production of certain nutrients eg. vitamins B12 and K
Stimulation of the immune system
Microbial antagonism - the fact that pathogens must compete with other microbes to gain a foothold in the body
What are opportunistic pathogens?
Indigenous microflora that become pathogenic when found in atypical parts of the body.
What are biofilms?
Biofilms are complex communities of different species of micro-organisms that live together like one organism. The can share genes, take up niche roles, protect the group and produce certain nutrients so that their actions combined benefit the group as whole.