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Azteca ants are better at limiting pathogenic microbes in their nurseries than humans, according to a new study. The research also found that the microbial make-up—or microbiome—of ant colonies varies from chamber to chamber, much like the microbiome differences we see from room to room in human homes.
The microbiome of each human dwelling is unique to its inhabitants, and the microbiome of each room is unique to the purpose of the room. For example, not only is the microbiome of your bathroom (hopefully) different from the microbiome of your kitchen, but the microbiome of your kitchen is distinct from the microbiome of your neighbor's kitchen.
Microbiomes - Effects - Health - Humans - Community
These microbiomes can have positive and negative effects on our health, and humans actively influence the microbial community of our dwellings with a range of techniques, from using anti-bacterial cleaning products to taking probiotics.
We now know that ants also have unique microbiomes, both from colony to colony and even between chambers within a single colony. A team of researchers, including Rob Dunn, a professor in NC State's Department of Applied Ecology, examined Azteca ant colonies in Trumpet trees (Cecropia peltata). Azteca ants utilize the naturally segmented stalks of...
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