Saturday, March 3, 2012

A New World

I've moved to a new location... and a new microbiome.  The crowds of Tokyo have been traded for the crowds of the human gut, and the sparsity of the termite gut I now find in the city of Ithaca. 

Things are quite a bit different now.  I live and work in daily conflict with snow, the immune system, and the ethical issues of working with mice.  My concerns with contamination remain but are primarily on a different scale -- the microscopic rather than the angstrom level.

But the same basic questions remain, however: How has the microbiome come to live in its host? What effect does the microbiome have on the life of the host, and how has the host shaped the microbiome? How have the two evolved in step together?

It's a dance competition where failure is death. 

Feed your microbiome: The Ugli or Unqi fruit. 

This Jamaican fruit is the cross of Citrus reticulata × Citrus paradisi and is a type of tangelo (orange/tangerine-grapefruit cross).  The flesh is extremely juicy though the pith is quite thick.  The taste is more mild than both a grapefruit and an orange.  The lasting impression is of a lemon-grapefruity flower.
Ugli or Unqi fruit top

Ugli or Unqi fruit bottom
Ugli or Unqi fruit section