Feeds

Why don't we suffer from E. coli all the time?

Beneficial bacteria?

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Also in this week's column:

Why don't we suffer from E. coli all the time? How soon does E.coli colonise in the intestines of a newborn baby, and how does it get into the intestines?

Asked by Neil Greenwood of Cardiff, Wales

All bacteria in the gut comes from the environment and is ingested during feeding. While the mother's milk should be sterile, other environmental factors allow bacteria to enter. Bacteria colonises the mouth first. It is swallowed in large numbers along with the milk.

E. coli (Escherichai coli) is one of a diverse group of microorganisms called coliforms. Coliforms are classified mostly by the tests for their isolation rather than for any physical characteristics. They are found in the lower gastrointestinal tract of humans and animals. Coliforms are unlikely to grow in water, but they grow nicely in food especially if the food is kept at conditions that may enhance growth. Room temperature on a warm day is certainly enough!

E. coli ferments and lives on the lactose of milk. Fermentation is an enzymatically controlled anaerobic breakdown or transformation of an energy-rich organic compound. Carbohydrate to carbon dioxide and alcohol to an organic acid are examples of fermentation.

E. coli colonises almost immediately. Most forms of E. coli are not capable of causing disease (non-pathogentic). They are found in large numbers in the gut.

They can be beneficial to humans in that they keep dangerous bacteria at bay and produce various vitamins that the body absorbs from the colon. However, some strains can cause disease (pathogenic). E. coli 0157 and E. coli 0111 are examples of these. E. coli has been implicated in some severe food poisonings in every corner of the world.

Stephen Juan, Ph.D. is an anthropologist at the University of Sydney. Email your Odd Body questions to s.juan@edfac.usyd.edu.au

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.