The secret life of the microbes living inside us

Microbes are believed to play a role in almost all of the human body's functions, as well as having an important part in the metabolic process, and it is estimated that the roughly 1.5kg of them living inside a person can perform 19,000 different fun
Microbes are believed to play a role in almost all of the human body's functions, as well as having an important part in the metabolic process, and it is estimated that the roughly 1.5kg of them living inside a person can perform 19,000 different functions, although more than a quarter of these remain a mystery. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
Microbes are believed to play a role in almost all of the human body's functions, as well as having an important part in the metabolic process, and it is estimated that the roughly 1.5kg of them living inside a person can perform 19,000 different fun
Professor Sven Pettersson says that microbes seem to be important in the first 1,000 days of a baby's life, and may affect the building up of the immune system.

In and on the human body lives a collection of microbes involved in a range of body functions, such as producing nutrients for cells that support the immune system. What is the science behind it? Samantha Boh gets the answers from cell biologist Sven Pettersson, professor of metabolic disorders at Nanyang Technological University's Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine.

A It is a micro-organism, more commonly called a bug, that lives inside a body or living organism.

Collectively, they are referred to as the microbiome.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 24, 2018, with the headline 'The secret life of the microbes living inside us'. Print Edition | Subscribe