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Welcome to Close Company! Please enjoy our gallery of bacteria, cells and molecules. Browse a series of cartoons that utilise these characters to show the inner workings of the microbiome. Some of these characters have also written guest blog posts to let us in to their world. So take a step back and enjoy seeing the world through bacterial eyes!

The Microbiome

The gut microbiome is the community of bacteria, fungi and viruses that live in everyone’s intestines. Within the intestine, these microorganisms iteract with each other, us and the environment, to shape how food is broken down and how our immune system functions. This image depicts the bacterial component of our microbiome, with some of its interactions shown as if it were people in a park.

Many bacteria cooperate with each other like friends on a see-saw or a parent feeding its child. Others compete with each other for vital nutrients like kids might fight over a ball. Many bacteria that are part of the normal microbiome can also be affected by antibiotics, shown here as a game of hide and seek. Although it is not completely understood, we know that the microbiome is important for the normal function of the intestine and development and maintenance of a functioning immune system.