Oxalobacter formigenes is a beneficial bacteria which is quite common in human guts. Studies conducted in several countries suggest that it is found in about half to three-quarters of humans, and is considered a symbiotic species. Symbiotic means two species, in this case bacteria and human, living together, often—but not necessarily—benefiting each member.
The genus name Oxalobacter is formed from the Greek word “oxalis,” which means “sorrel” (the leaf vegetable often cultivated for consumption), and the Latin word “bacter,” which means “rod”. Sorrell contains high levels of oxalate (a salt), which causes its distinctive sour taste. The species name Oxalobacter formigenes (pronounced “ox-ALLO-back-ter FORM-ee-jeans”) comes from the Latin “acidum formicum”—formic acid—and the Latin suffix -genes, meaning “produce”.
Oxalobacter formigenes benefits its human host by metabolizing (breaking down) oxalates in the gastrointestinal tract. If oxalates are not degraded in the gut, they can pass through to the kidneys where they may combine with calcium to form kidney stones, which are made from calcium oxalate.
The presence of Oxalobacter formigenes is associated with a 70% reduction in the risk of recurrent kidney stones.
1. Kaufman, D. W., Kelly, J. P., Curhan, G. C., Anderson, T. E., Dretler, S. P., Preminger, G. M., & Cave, D. R. (2008). Oxalobacter formigenes May Reduce the Risk of Calcium Oxalate Kidney Stones. Journal of American Society of Nephrology, 19, 1197–1203.
2. Barnett, C., Nazzal, L., Goldfarb, D. S., & Blaser, M. J. (2015). The Presence of Oxalobacter Formigenes in the Microbiome of Healthy Young Adults. Journal of Urology, (November, in press).
3. Ivanovski, O., & Dru, T. B. (2013). A new era in the treatment of calcium oxalate stones? Kidney International, 83, 998–1000.
Welcome to uBiome!
We are the world’s first effort to map the human microbiome with citizen science. Our sequencing service provides information and tools for you to explore the populations of bacteria that live on and inside your body.
What We Do
Based on research from the NIH Human Microbiome Project, we've perfected the technology to perform large-scale microbiome studies. The knowledge we'll gain may (one day) empower people to live healthier and accelerate our understanding of the world around us. For the individual, we leverage this technology to help you better understand your own microbiome. Here's what you can learn:
DISCOVER WHAT’S LIVING INSIDE YOU
An estimated 500 - 1,000 species of bacteria live in the human gut. Get the breakdown of what yours are down to the genus level.
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If you’re thinking of trying something new – a new diet, probiotics, or anything else – get a “before” picture of your microbiome to compare with your “after”, and see what has changed.
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Find out how you're different. Is your microbiome more like a vegan's or a heavy drinker's? Are your bacteria more or less diverse than other people of your gender? See how you measure up.
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We give you the data, what will you do with it? Team up with uBiome to research the microbiome, and discover something new.
Every day, we are learning more about the human microbiome, and we hope to have many discoveries to share as we go. It’s a vast new frontier of scientific research. Thank you for being part of it with us!
What Happens Next
After ordering, we will send your kit straight to you! Collect your samples with a quick swab
of the site (or sites), and mail it back to us in the provided prepaid envelope.
Your samples will travel to our office in San Francisco, where theyíll be run through our state-of-the-art DNA sequencing lab. Expect to get your results back 4-6 weeks after we receive your sample.
You will then receive access to a personal dashboard (app.ubiome.com) which breaks down the types and functions of bacteria found in your sample.
Here is where you can see your diversity score as well as learn, explore, and compare everything related to your bacteria.