“Our recent studies have revealed that there exists in normal animals an abundant and characteristic microflora, not only in the large intestine, but also in all the other parts of the digestive tract, including the mouth, the stomach and the small intestine. These microorganisms should not be regarded merely as contaminants. Rather, they become so intimately associated with the various digestive organs that they form with them a well-defined ecosystem of which each component is influenced by the others, and by the environmental conditions.”–René Dubos (1964)
This quote leads a terrific article published by FASEB that sets the context for microbiome research. Starting at the beginning with Antonie van Leeuwenhoek in the 17th century and his description of “many very little living animalcules, very prettily a-moving”–residents of his own mouth–and continuing on through Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch who developed our understandings of “germs” and infectious disease. The article takes us through microbiology to the present day and our growing understanding of the microbial ecosystem that keep us healthy.
Highly recommended reading. Find the article here: