Antibiotic resistance surges in dolphins, mirroring humans

Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest public health challenges in the world today since many common bacterial infections are developing resistance to the drugs once used to treat them, and new antibiotics aren't being ...

Method to customize microbes for better biofuel production

Scientists at the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have demonstrated a method to insert genes into a variety of microorganisms that previously would not accept foreign DNA, with the goal of creating ...

Breath! Respiring microbes generate more energy

How do cells generate and use energy? This question might seem simple, but the answer is far from simple. Furthermore, knowing how microbial cell factories consume energy and how proteins are allocated to do so is crucial ...

Folded paper creates portable lab for field laboratory tests

Monitoring and tracking biological threats or epidemics require the ability to carry out medical and laboratory tests in the field during a disaster or other austere situations. Expensive laboratory equipment is often unavailable ...

Scientists uncover mystery of DNA methylation

All species mark their DNA with methyl groups. This is done to regulate gene expression, distinguish indigenous DNA from foreign DNA, or to mark old DNA strands during replication. Methylation is carried out by certain enzymes ...

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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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