It is estimated that there are 5 x 1030 bacteria on Earth. That is more bacterial biomass than all plants and animals combined. There are 100 trillion individual bacteria living in the human intestine. This is ten times more than the number of cells that make up the human body. These intestinal bacteria contain 100 times as many genes as the human genome. We humans are literally bacterial and the earth is truly a bacterial planet. Without bacteria, life would be unthinkable. It is only a small minority of bacteria that are antagonistic to life in that they cause bad odours, disease and illness. Unfortunately these “bad” bacteria have given the majority of bacteria a bad reputation and all bacteria have been wrongly labeled as “germs’ to be eradicated. Not only is this approach unscientific it is dangerous as the beneficial bacteria (probiotics is the scientific term) are caught up in this warfare and we end up losing important allies in life.
Microbiologists have discovered that bacteria communicate using chemical signals to co-ordinate their activities called quorum sensing. Bacterial communities with a large genetic diversity are therefore more robust in dealing with environmental changes since they have a better chance of supporting each other in their survival reactions to these changes. The measure therefore of an environments health is its bacterial genetic diversity. The simpler environments tend to have a small bacterial genetic diversity and these environments tend to be absorbed into more complex and bacterially diverse environments. Manmade environments tend to be of the simpler kind and are often also polluted. Therefore adding a combination of complex organic molecules, mineral nutrients and genetically diverse probiotic bacterial communities to these environments will not only make them more robust to environmental changes but will also detoxify them. This is the basic principle of Advanced Probiotic Technology: The creation of a complex, genetically diverse and robust/anti-fragile living environment through the use of a consortia of probiotic bacteria together with complex food sources.
In our intestinal system probiotic bacteria have been shown to contribute to healthy digestion, the stimulation of cell growth, the control of pathogens and immune function. It is now common practice for medical doctors to prescribe a course of probiotic bacteria at the same time as a course in antibiotics. The antibiotics kill both the good and bad bacteria indiscriminately whilst the probiotics re-populate the intestine with good bacteria.
Since our skin is also an environmental niche for bacteria to live. The usage of beneficial probiotic bacteria for skincare has delivered positive results in the treatment of sun blemishes and eczema. Probiotic bacteria are known to produce very powerful anti-oxidants, just what the skin requires due to the affect of sunlight causing free-radical damage.
Using probiotics to preserve and increase the digestibility of food through fermentation has been common in most cultures and a few well known examples include salami, parma ham, sauerkraut, kimchi, yoghurt, miso, soy sauce, wine, beer, vinegar and cheese. Now an exciting new generation of probiotic fermented “superfoods” have been developed using the next generation of probiotics.
Bad odours indicate the presence of toxin producing pathogens growing on organic material. The new generation of probiotics can be used to control odours by outcompeting pathogens for organic material and neutralizing odour compounds. Probiotics will also remain living on the surfaces where they were applied and continue doing the job of odour and pathogen control.
Domesticated animals also benefit from probiotics and researchers are discovering the role probiotics play in the digestive health, coat care and habitat hygiene of our pets and farmed animals.
Probiotic bacteria such as purple non-sulphur bacteria (PNSB) have shown promise in cleaning wastewater, biohydrogen production and odor control. PNSB are also able to produce oxygen, fix nitrogen and secrete useful organic compounds such as amino acids, fatty acids, anti-oxidants, enzymes and plant hormones, which have made their usage in crop agriculture widespread. Endophytic probiotic bacteria that live inside plant tissues have been shown to contribute to plant health through induced systemic resistance and the production of plant growth hormones.