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Know your Gut up close and personal -Part 3: Bacteroidetes

Bacteroidetes are anaerobic (they don’t like oxygen), non-spore-forming, sugar fermenting, gram-negative rods. Bacteroidetes are one of the most dominant phyla in your gut microbiota and have a mutualistic relationship with your body as both of you benefit from the relationship. Bacteroidetes have been extensively researched and are well known to exert influence on your immune system to control the growth of pathogenic bacteria. They also have a high rate of antibiotic resistance but that’s more our fault than theirs.

These guys are brilliant at producing short chain fatty acids in your large intestine which are used throughout your body to promote your health. You may have heard of some of the members before; Bacteroides, Flavobacteria, Cytophagia, and Sphingobacteria. Don’t forget that Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes are the largest inhabitants of your gut, up to 80% of the community.

(Image sourced from Creative Commons:

When Bacteroidetes go bad they can cause quite a disaster. You would have heard of Bacteroides fragilis produces (B. fragilis). B. fragilis can produce a toxin that has been linked to acute diarrheal disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and colorectal cancer. B. fragilis produces colon cancer in animal models and previous human studies have demonstrated frequent colonisation of this bacterium in faecal samples of patients with colon cancer. He’s one very busy bug which is why we must try and keep him out of our lives.

When you have a poor diet you may be providing the opportunity for good bugs to go bad and this is why here at HealthMap we stress the importance of having a good look at your diet to see where it can be improved to look after your gut and you.


Birg, A., Ritz, N. L., & Lin, H. C. (2019). Chapter 20 - The Unknown Effect of Antibiotic-Induced Dysbiosis on the Gut Microbiota. In J. Faintuch & S. Faintuch (Eds.), Microbiome and Metabolome in Diagnosis, Therapy, and other Strategic Applications (pp. 195-200): Academic Press.

Niestępski, S., Harnisz, M., Korzeniewska, E., Aguilera-Arreola, M. G., Contreras-Rodríguez, A., Filipkowska, Z., & Osińska, A. (2019). The emergence of antimicrobial resistance in environmental strains of the Bacteroides fragilis group. Environment International, 124, 408-419. doi:

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