As microbes have become increasingly resistant to antibiotics and antimicrobials scientists have become interested in new solutions to the growing superbug crisis, including the use of defensive microbes and faecal transplants. In new research, Oxford University scientists have developed a lab-based approach, creating positive co-dependent relationships between hosts and bacteria, quickly - termed ‘mutualisms’. These lab-developed bacterial relationships demonstrate how microbes can work with their hosts to prevent infection.
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Defensive host-microbe relationships are prevalent in nature across plants and animals, including humans. The mutual benefit comes from the host benefiting from the protection of the bacteria, and the bacteria then benefiting from the host being a healthy living environment - allowing it to accumulate further over time.