• Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

Unique Microbial Networks Found in Dead Bodies Worldwide, Playing Crucial Role in Decomposition Ecosystem


Feb 13, 2024
Researchers find commonality among all deceased individuals

Scientists have discovered that all corpses share a unique microbial network, regardless of their origin. Dead bodies contain bacteria and fungal decomposers that are rare in the rest of the world. These microbes play an essential role in the natural world by breaking down corpses and becoming part of the “decomposition ecosystem” to help with plant production.

In a study published in Nature Microbiology, researchers bury 36 donated corpses in different locations with distinct environmental features. Despite the varying conditions, they found that all the samples taken from the bodies featured the same selection of microbes. Insects could also carry these microbes to decomposing human and animal remains.

Dr. Devin Finaughty, not involved in the study, explained that decomposition is the consumption of organic material by other organisms and is distinct from physical degradation by erosive forces like water. The decomposition system revolves around dead bodies as a resource for food, breeding ground, nursery, and shelter for many organisms.

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