Key functions of the gut microbiota:
Humans have a long history of symbiotic interactions with bacteria. We have coevolved with our microbiota over thousands of years, to form a complex and mutually beneficial relationship. Indeed, the gut microbiota performs functions that our human cells are not able to.
- inhibiting their growth;
- competing with pathogens: the gut microbiota consumes available nutrients and inhabits the available niches, leaving less nutrients and space for pathogens;
- producing bacteriocins, compounds that inhibit the growth of potentially pathogenic microbes.