A microbiome consists of the microbiota in a particular environment along with their “ecosystem”, which includes many things, such as metabolites from the host and other microorganisms, viruses, and free-floating genetic material.[1] Thus, the microbiota is part of a microbiome.


    The microorganisms in a particular environment, including bacteria, archaea, fungists, protists and algae, together make up the microbiota. The microbiome comprises the microbiota, plus everything else in their environment.

    For example, the gut microbiota found in our intestines include 10–100 trillion microorganisms, belonging to a large diversity of species that varies considerably between humans and over time.[2] The gut microbiome, however, is more than just the microbiota: it incorporates the environment these trillions of microorganisms exist in, including their (and our) metabolic products and free-floating genetic material.[1]

    Microbiome = Microbiota + Environment Image adapted from: Berg G et al. Microbiome definition re-visited: old concepts and new challenges. Microbiome. 2020 Jun 30;8(1):103. doi: 10.1186/s40168-020-00875-0.


    1. ^Berg G, Rybakova D, Fischer D, Cernava T, Vergès MC, Charles T, Chen X, Cocolin L, Eversole K, Corral GH, Kazou M, Kinkel L, Lange L, Lima N, Loy A, Macklin JA, Maguin E, Mauchline T, McClure R, Mitter B, Ryan M, Sarand I, Smidt H, Schelkle B, Roume H, Kiran GS, Selvin J, Souza RSC, van Overbeek L, Singh BK, Wagner M, Walsh A, Sessitsch A, Schloter MMicrobiome definition re-visited: old concepts and new challenges.Microbiome.(2020-Jun-30)
    2. ^Turnbaugh PJ, Ley RE, Hamady M, Fraser-Liggett CM, Knight R, Gordon JIThe human microbiome project.Nature.(2007-Oct-18)