Scientists define microbiota as “the assemblage of microorganisms (all the bacteria, archaea, eukaryotes, and viruses) present in a defined environment.” More specifically, the microbiota varies according to its surrounding environment.
The term microbiota is thus preceded by the name of the environment in which it is located. For example, ‘gut microbiota’ refers to the microbiota in the intestinal tract.
Microbiome: a definition
The term microbiome was initially used to refer to the collection of genes harbored by microorganisms.
A broad definition of microbiome encompasses “the entire habitat, including the microorganisms (bacteria, archaea, lower and higher eukaryotes, and viruses), their genes, and the surrounding environmental conditions.”
However, to simplify, the term ‘microbiome’ is commonly used to refer to the microorganisms you harbor in and on your body (i.e., your microbiota).