microbiome

noun mi·cro·bi·ome \ ˌmī-krō-ˈbī-ˌōm \
Updated on: 18 Nov 2017

Definition of microbiome

1 : a community of microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses) that inhabit a particular environment and especially the collection of microorganisms living in or on the human body
  • Your body is home to about 100 trillion bacteria and other microbes, collectively known as your microbiome.
  • —Carl Zimmer
  • … what's arguably become the hottest area of medicine: microbiome research, an emerging field that's investigating how the bacteria that live in and on our bodies affect our health.
  • —Sunny Sea Gold
2 : the collective genomes of microorganisms inhabiting a particular environment and especially the human body
  • They form one community among the many that make up the human microbiome: the full genetic complement of bacteria and other organisms at home on your skin, gums, and teeth, in your genital tract, and especially in your gut.
  • —Nathan Wolfe

Recent Examples of microbiome from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'microbiome.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of microbiome


Medical Dictionary

microbiome

noun mi·cro·bi·ome \ ˌmī-krō-ˈbī-ˌōm \

medical Definition of microbiome

1 : a community of microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses) that inhabit a particular environment and especially the collection of microorganisms living in or on the human body
  • The intestinal microbiome consists of the microorganisms that inhabit the gut.
  • —Clara Abraham et al.The New England Journal of Medicine19 Nov. 2009
  • Collectively known as the microbiome, this community may play a role in regulating one's risk of obesity, asthma and allergies.
  • —Carrie ArnoldScientific AmericanMarch 2012
  • The human oral microbiome comprises all microbial species in the oral cavity.
  • —Naomi P. O'GradyThe Journal of the American Medical Association20 June 2012
2 : the collective genomes of microorganisms inhabiting a particular environment and especially the human body
  • As part of a new citizen-science initiative called the American Gut project, the lab sequenced my microbiome—that is, the genes not of “me,” exactly, but of the several hundred microbial species with whom I share this body.
  • —Michael PollanThe New York Times19 May 2013
  • Together, the genomes of these microbial symbionts (collectively defined as the microbiome) provide traits that humans did not need to evolve on their own.
  • —Peter J. Turnbaugh et al.Nature18 Oct. 2007

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up microbiome? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

an inference not connected logically

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!