The microbiota: an “organ” at the core of our bodies

Bloating, bowel movements, vomiting, digestion, flatulence and other types of rumbling in our guts… addressing these issues is a daring challenge!

Some have attempted it nevertheless, and quite successfully: the Cité des Sciences of Paris is hosting an exhibition, which opened on December 4, 2018 and will last until August 4, 2019, and is inspired by the bestseller Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ (Giulia and Jill Enders, 2015). This book has been met with a resounding success as it was able to explain to a wide audience the whims and wonders of our gut microbiota. As an expert in this subject, the Biocodex Microbiota Institute wanted to actively participate to this scientific cultural exchange and sponsored this event directed to the general public. A first in this field.

The tone is set: you find yourself at the beginning of the itinerary, i.e. the entry into the mouth… To understand your digestive system, you will take the same path as your breakfast toast. Over the exhibition spread on 600 square meters, you will play the role of food, from the chewing process to the toilet bowl (“cacabinet”) through the intestinal villi, small folds shaped as hills covering the internal walls of the small intestine.

During this interactive and tactile journey, many secrets will be revealed to you: the role of saliva, stomach asymmetry, the role of bacteria in the fermentation process, communication between gut microorganisms and brain, immune system and central nervous system… This exhibition allows us to get to know viruses, fungi and bacteria located in our bellies–of which 99% are “good” microorganisms.

Clostridium difficile, Helicobacter pylori, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii… You will become familiar with the gut ecosystem which will come alive through numerous visitor-friendly examples. It is a humorous trail that retains the playful approach of the Enders sisters and that teaches us how to take care of the 2 kg composing our gut microbiota. You will leave more knowledgeable… and without complexes!

Created 12 February 2019
Updated 08 June 2022