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Human bowel holds ten times more bacteria than previously thought.

Byline: ANI

Washington, Nov 18 (ANI): A new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine is affiliated with Stanford University and is located at Stanford University Medical Center in Stanford, California, adjacent to Palo Alto and Menlo Park.  has revealed that ten times more types of bacteria live in the human bowel than was previously thought.

The new study estimates that there are at least 5,600 different species or strains inhabiting the colon, substantially more than the 500 previously estimated.

A technique known as pyrosequencing helped identify myriad strains which exist in only small numbers to gain a full appreciation of the diversity seen in this off-putting area of the human body.

Many of the intestinal microbes feed off complex carbohydrates which humans' own digestive enzymes are impervious too.

Others perform useful functions like producing vitamin K vitamin K

Any of several fat-soluble compounds essential for the clotting of blood. A deficiency of vitamin K in the body leads to an increase in clotting time. In 1929 a previously unrecognized fat-soluble substance present in green leafy vegetables was found to be required
, but their collective contribution is what is most significant.

By occupying intestinal real estate and devouring its useless-to-us, tasty-to-them contents, friendly gut organisms prevent pathogens from taking over in the same way a house filled with legal residents deters squatters.

The research provides some good news for those worried that antibiotics might be having a negative impact on this unusual ecosystem.

A five-day treatment of the broad-spectrum antibiotic ciprofloxacin ciprofloxacin /cip·ro·flox·a·cin/ (sip?ro-flok´sah-sin) a synthetic antibacterial effective against many gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria; used as the hydrochloride salt.

 as part of an eight-month monitoring period showed recovery within a few weeks.

"The bacterial ecosystems were knocked for a loop, but they snapped back quickly," researcher Les Dethlefsen said.

The study will be published online Nov. 18 in the journal Public Library of Science-Biology. (ANI)

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Publication:Asian News International
Date:Nov 25, 2008
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