The field of human microbiome research has exploded in the last decade. This has resulted in the microbiome dominating headlines in almost every scientific journal, and now making an appearance in Time Magazine, Forbes, The Economist, The New Yorker, and National Geographics.
According to the National Microbiome Initiative, 'Microbiomes are the communities of micro-organisms that live on or in people, plants, soil, oceans, and the atmosphere. Microbiomes maintain healthy function of these diverse ecosystems, influencing human health, climate change, food security, and other factors. Dysfunctional microbiomes are associated with issues including human chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and asthma.'
Earlier this year, the Obama administration announced a $121 million investment into microbiome research with additional investment from other sources including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, taking the total investment figure to $400 million. This new investment into the microbiome has the potential to change every major industry as we know it - medicine, healthcare, pharmaceutical, nutrition, and growth, production and manufacturing of food.
Below, figures from ResearchGate, show the trends in human producing research between 2003 and 2013 and, according to Markets and Markets, the human microbiome industry will be worth $658 million by 2023. Pretty impressive for single-cell organisms so tiny that millions can fit into the eye of a needle!
So, what I find fascinating is that, despite the huge investment being ploughed into every level of microbiome research and the coverage it has received in scientific journals and global publications, most people, if you ask them, couldn't tell you what the microbiome is! Go on, ask someone right now... :)
There seems to be a real disconnection between research, findings and general knowledge and awareness (especially in the UK) of what has been deemed one of the most significant findings of our generation - The Second Genome!
Read more in my ebook:
Healed : A science-based approach to support your gut bacteria and clear psoriasis