Rapid water quality tests better protect beachgoers

Planning a trip to the beach? Along with looking forward to some summer fun, beachgoers may be thinking about the safety of their waterfront destination. Will the water be clean enough for swimming, surfing, wading and all ...

Bacteria change behavior to tackle tiny obstacle course

It's not exactly the set of TV's "American Ninja Warrior," but a tiny obstacle course for bacteria has shown researchers how E. coli changes its behavior to rapidly clear obstructions to food. Their work holds implications ...

Researchers unravel mechanisms that control cell size

Working with bacteria, a multidisciplinary team at the University of California San Diego has provided new insight into a longstanding question in science: What are the underlying mechanisms that control the size of cells?

Imported spices and frozen vegetables tested for 'superbugs'

A University of Saskatchewan research team has found that some food imported to Saskatoon from certain Asian countries has tested positive for "superbugs"—strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria—but immediate health ...

Purifying water with graphene

Scientists from the National University of Science and Technology and colleagues from Derzhavin Tambov State University and Saratov Chernyshevsky State University have figured out that graphene is capable of purifying water, ...

Antimicrobial paints have a blind spot

Antimicrobial paints offer the promise of extra protection against bacteria. But Northwestern University researchers caution that these paints might be doing more harm than good.

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Escherichia coli

Escherichia coli (commonly E. coli; pronounced /ˌɛʃɪˈrɪkiə ˈkoʊlaɪ/, /iː ~/, and named for its discoverer), is a Gram negative bacterium that is commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms (endotherms). Most E. coli strains are harmless, but some, such as serotype O157:H7, can cause serious food poisoning in humans, and are occasionally responsible for costly product recalls. The harmless strains are part of the normal flora of the gut, and can benefit their hosts by producing vitamin K2, or by preventing the establishment of pathogenic bacteria within the intestine.

E. coli are not always confined to the intestine, and their ability to survive for brief periods outside the body makes them an ideal indicator organism to test environmental samples for fecal contamination. The bacteria can also be grown easily and its genetics are comparatively simple and easily-manipulated or duplicated through a process of metagenics, making it one of the best-studied prokaryotic model organisms, and an important species in biotechnology and microbiology.

E. coli was discovered by German pediatrician and bacteriologist Theodor Escherich in 1885, and is now classified as part of the Enterobacteriaceae family of gamma-proteobacteria.

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