This page attempts to express in simple language a few technical terms often seen

  • 16s” – this is a short form of 16S rRNA gene sequencing. For more information, see 16S ribosomal RNA on wikipedia. It is can detect non-culturable bacteria.
  • Bacteria” – a living organism that is usually a single cell. Other organization that may be in the microbiome including:
    • Virus – something that often reproduces by infecting a bacteria cell, and then kills the cell to release clones of itself
    • Phage – (bacteriophage) is a virus that attacks a specific type of bacteria. They can be used to treat some type of infections, for example, Lyme disease
  • Culturable Bacteria” – these are bacteria that can usually be grown in a petri dish. These bacteria usually tolerable oxygen. Other bacteria do not tolerate oxygen and die quickly.
    • Older microbiome tests could only detect this type of bacteria
    • 16s and Shotgun tests identifies bacteria by their RNA and DNA.
  • Microbiome” or “Microbiota“- is the civilization of bacteria and other organism that lives somewhere. This can be the skin, vagina, mouth, etc. We are focused mainly of the bacteria reported in stools. These are well studies by scientists and also cheap for people to do.
  • Out of Range” means above or below a range determined by a lab, a person or a statistical process. Ranges on the same bacteria differs by source. There is no “right” answer — they are all different opinions.
  • Pathogen” – a bacteria that is associated with some illness
  • Prebiotics” – are the foods to feed bacteria deemed helpful. In general, these are foods that feed commercially available probiotics. Wikipedia. These foods could also feed some harmful bacteria.
  • Probiotics” – these are bacteria found in humans that can be grown commercially (Culturable).
    • The specific bacteria has been shown to be safe to authorities, OR, has been grandfathered in because they were in common use before the regulations.
    • Typical names of the species are Lactobacillus, Bacillus and Bifidobacterium. More uncommon one are Akkermansia, Clostridium and E.Coli, Aspergillus. For a list of probiotics with research, see this page — over 4000 studies on probiotics strains available as retail products are listed.
  • Shotgun” – short form of Shotgun or Metagenomics. See Wikipedia for more detail. This method detects more types of bacteria with greater accuracy.
  • Taxa” or “Taxonomy” – this is the more technically correct name for a bacteria
  • Taxonomy Rank” a method of classifying living things by similarity (including DNA)
    • While things are similar there may be unique differences

STRAIN is the next level down
An example:
Kingdom of Fish
Phylum of Salt Water Fish
Class of Fish that reproduces in Fresh Water
Order of Salmon
Family of Pacific Salmon vs Family of Atlantic Salmon
Genus of Coho Salmon
Species of Alaskan Coho Salmon