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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF SHIGA-TOXIGENIC ESCHERICHIA COLI IN LIVESTOCK Title: Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Other E. coli Strains Share Physiological Properties Associated with Intestinal Colonization

item Jacobsen, Lisa -
item Durso, Lisa
item Conway, Tyrrell -
item Nickerson, Kenneth -

Submitted to: Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 26, 2009
Publication Date: July 1, 2009
Repository URL:
Citation: Jacobsen, L., Durso, L.M., Conway, T., Nickerson, K.W. 2009. Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Other E. coli Strains Share Physiological Properties Associated with Intestinal Colonization. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 75(13):4633-4635.

Interpretive Summary: Generic E. coli bacteria are naturally found in the gastrointestinal tracts (GIT) of mammals, including cattle and humans. While in the GIT, E. coli are subject to many stresses, including acid and detergent stress. One particular E. coli type, E. coli O157:H7 is a normal part of the cattle gastrointestinal tract, but can cause severe disease in humans. This paper compares how the pathogenic E. coli O157:H7 and generic E. coli respond to the stressful acid and detergent conditions found in the GIT. The results indicate that the pathogenic E. coli O157:H7 is not significantly different than other generic E. coli in regards to the parameters examined. Because E. coli O157:H7 does not generally cause disease in cattle, and because it responds similarly to acid and detergent stresses, we suggest that strategies to address control of E. coli O157:H7 in cattle should be viewed, not as eliminating a pathogen, but rather geared towards controlling a naturally occurring organism.

Technical Abstract: Escherichia coli isolates(72 commensal and 10 O157:H7 isolates) were compared with regard to physiological and growth parameters related to their ability to survive and persist in the gastrointestinal tract and found to be similar. We propose that in nonhuman hosts E. coli O157:H7 strains function similarly to other E. coli strains in regard to attributes relevant to gastrointestinal colonization.

Last Modified: 9/1/2015
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