E. coli

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A gram negative, rod-shaped bacterium that is mostly harmless, but some strains can cause serious illness[1]. E. coli bacteria was discovered in 1885 by the German bacteriologist Theodor Escherich[2]. Commonly used in genetic engineering to mass produce proteins by inserting recombinant plasmids (e.g. to produce insulin). It is also used as a model organism because it can be easily manipulated, has a short generation time and its genome has been sequenced. Urinary tract infections and especially E. coli intestinal infection can be caused by making contact with faeces of humans and animals[3].

See Escherichia coli for more details.


  1. http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/general/index.html
  2. Feng, Peter, et al., “Enumeration of Escherichia coli and the Coliform Bacteria,” in BACTERIOLOGICAL ANALYTICAL MANUAL (8th Ed. 2002)
  3. Cold F, Health E, Disease H, Management P, Conditions S, Problems S et al. E. Coli Infection From Food or Water-Topic Overview [Internet]. WebMD. 2016 [cited 5 December 2016]. Available from: http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/tc/e-coli-infection-topic-overview#1
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