More Than 80 Species Added to Oral Microbiome Database

Dentistry Today
Photo by Pallavi Murugkar and Felicitas Bidlack.


Photo by Pallavi Murugkar and Felicitas Bidlack.

The list of bugs in your mouth keeps growing, as the Forsyth Institute has added more than 80 species to its online expanded Human Oral Microbiome Database (eHOMD). It now indexes 772 microbial species present in the aerodigestive tract (ADT), which includes the mouth, throat, nose, sinuses, and esophagus.

“The expanded HOMD will provide a wealth of information for researchers worldwide who are beginning to recognize the connection between oral health and overall wellness,” said Wenyuan Shi, PhD, CEO and chief scientific officer at the Forsyth Institute.

The eHOMD is designed to provide the scientific community with comprehensive information on the bacterial species located in the human ADT. With Forsyth’s research, the availability of these strains and their genome information will facilitate work by scientists around the world, paving the way for new methods for fighting infectious diseases, Forsyth reports.

“The expansion of HOMD will allow scientists studying all sections of the aerodigestive system, not just the mouth, to use a carefully curated database for the bacteria that live on and in the nose, sinuses, throat, esophagus, and mouth,” said Floyd Dewhirst, DDS, PhD, senior member of staff. “We have brought together key information and analytical tools for scientists and physicians to use to better understand human health and disease.”

Of all the microbes in the eHOMD, 57% are officially named, 13% are unnamed but cultivated, and 30% are known only as uncultivated phylotypes. A key aspect of eHOMD is that it provides a provisional naming system from as yet uncultivated microbes, allowing for comparison of research from labs worldwide.

The database’s expansion is the culmination of two years of collaborative work by two teams of Forsyth researchers. The project was instigated with support from Harvard Catalyst and further supported in part by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

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