Environnement, Risques & Santé


Microbiota at the crossroad of humans and biodiversity Volume 21, issue 3, Mai-Juin 2022

Professeur du Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (Paris) et des universités de Gdansk (Pologne) et Kunming (Chine), Membre de l’Académie d’agriculture de France et Président de la Fédération, BioGée, Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, ISYEB UMR7205, CP 39, 45 rue Buffon, 75005 Paris, France
Tirés à part : M. Selosse

Article previously published in Humanité et Biodiversité magazine 7 and republished with its agreement.


The human body is inhabited by several microbiota, on its skin and in its cavities (such as the digestive tract). Their diversity contributes to the organism’s functioning. Similarly, their cultural habits have given humans “cultural” microbiota, especially in fermented foods. These two types of microbiota represent convergent evolution and are similar in two respects. First, they perform similar functions: aid in digestion, detoxification of toxins, production of vitamins and health effects through barrier effects, and modulation of the immune system. But in addition, these microbiota are currently suffering, under the effect of Western cultural practices, from an impoverishment that contributes to diseases of the metabolism, nervous system, and immune system – pathologies that are exploding in modern societies.