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Author Topic: Why don't we digest the bacteria in our gut?  (Read 1970 times)

Offline John Chapman

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Why don't we digest the bacteria in our gut?
« on: 08/02/2009 21:03:51 »
Our digestive tract is a hostile environment. Acid and enzymes make it highly corrosive. I remember from my school biology days that we have a number of adaptations to protect the wall of our gut from digesting itself, including rapid cell replacement and mucous production. But none of these would apply to free floating unicellular organisms. And bacteria are sooo small that they must have a massive surface area to volume ratio making them particularly vulnerable to attack on their membrane. So how do they protect themselves? Come to that, following each meal why aren't they largely flushed away with the faeces?


 

lyner

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Why don't we digest the bacteria in our gut?
« Reply #1 on: 08/02/2009 21:34:57 »
Because some bacteria are as tough as old boots!
Out digestive tract is a paradise in comparison with the conditions that some extremophiles can exist quite happily.
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Why don't we digest the bacteria in our gut?
« Reply #2 on: 09/02/2009 05:25:46 »
But the thing is, bacteria do get killed when they enter your stomach by the gastic juice.
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Why don't we digest the bacteria in our gut?
« Reply #3 on: 09/02/2009 07:17:17 »
Bacteria that are not killed by acid such as Helicobacter pylori love to live in an acidic environments.
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Why don't we digest the bacteria in our gut?
« Reply #4 on: 09/02/2009 07:20:06 »
A full stomach after a finished meal with a big glass of water may hardly be acidic, and is nothing compared to an empty, hungry stomach, so the bacteria sneeks in with the food. The bacterial content of our intestines is not static, bacteria comes and goes.
 

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Why don't we digest the bacteria in our gut?
« Reply #4 on: 09/02/2009 07:20:06 »

 

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