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Helpful Bacteria

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It's A Jungle Inside
Teacher Contributed

It's A Jungle Inside

It's a jungle inside...your gut that is!

Sometimes You Eat The Bugs and Sometimes The Bugs Eat You

Have you ever heard of the 5 second rule? That's the rule that states you can eat any food that falls on the floor, so long as it hasn't been there longer than 5 seconds (many parents hate this rule). The idea is that if it stays there any longer, it will be colonized by microorganisms, and these microorganisms will mess you up. The attitude that microorganisms are to be feared is well founded. People die every year from the actions of microorganisms. But research shows that not all that is unseen is bad, and we actually depend on some of those little critters. What does this mean for the 5 second rule? Go ask your parent.

Extension Investigation

Use the resources below to answer the following questions:

  1. What is the estimated number of microorganisms that every human hosts? Where do these microorganism occur?
  2. Are all microorganisms harmful to humans? Why or why not? Think carefully and be as thorough in your answer as you can be.
  3. Do all humans play host to the same species and strains of microorganisms? How do researchers think this situation affects people's health?

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