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Escherichia coli (E. coli), is among the important species of bacteria that dwells in the lower intestines of mammals. It is also known as gut flora which is useful when located in the large instestine and assists with waste processing, vitamin K production, and food absorption.


It is abundant in human body and the number of individual E. coli bacteria found in the human feces every day averages between 100 billion and 10 trillion. E-coli is also found in the environment such as on the edge of hot springs. Although most strains of E. coli are not regarded as pathogens, there are also pathogenic strains of E. coli that when ingested, causes gastrointestinal illness in healthy humans (FDA 2002). For example, the E. coli strain O157:H7 is one of hundreds of strains of the bacterium that causes serious illness in humans (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2006).
E. coli are unable to sporulate similat to all Gram-negative organisms. Hence the treatments which kill all active bacteria, such as pasteurization or simple boiling of contaminated water, are most effective for their eradication. The complected processess such as sterilization which deactivates spores in not essential for e-coli. E. coli grow best in vivo or at the higher temperatures as they are mostly adapted to the mammalian intestines. However their growthe is restricted in cooler temperatures found in soil and other environments.
E. coli is basically responsible for many intestinal and extra-intestinal infections. Some of these infewctions incluse meningitis, peritonitis, urinary tract infections, septicemia, Gram-negative pneumonia and mastitis. Based on the virulence properties of the enteric E. ...
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