We are not alone.
Every inch of every surface of our body is covered with micro-organisms. Billions of them thrive on our skin. Millions are found elsewhere inside us, predominantly inside our intestines. Everything around us is similarly coated with probably as many cells as there are atoms in the universe. We are, in a way, made of microbes.
But what is there to be afraid of? They have been with us from the moment we were born - colonising our bodies within the first 30 minutes of birth - and they will be there when we die, to take us apart into useful chemicals to be re-circulated in the environment. And we are not the only ones living with micro-organisms. Every other living creature on the face of this Earth shares its life with zillions of microscopic neighbours.
The role microbes play as symbionts of living creatures is enormous. What once were micro-organisms have through time become integrated into the cells of multicellular life forms, becoming the powerhouses of cells. Microbes in our intestines help produce certain essential vitamins such as vitamin B12. Others toil in the guts of ruminant animals, thus granting these creatures the abilityContinued page 15/25