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E. coli is a common gram-negative rod-shaped bacterium, found in normal human (and other animals) bacterial flora. Most E. coli strains are harmless but some strains can cause severe and life-threatening diarrhoea. The harmless strains are part of the normal flora of the gut and can benefit their hosts by producing vitamin K2 and by preventing the establishment of pathogenic bacteria within the intestine. E. coli cells are able to survive outside the body for a limited amount of time, which makes them ideal indicator organisms to test environmental samples for faecal contamination. Optimal growth of E. coli occurs at 37°C but some laboratory strains can multiply at temperatures of up to 49°C.
Item sold as a 10mL broth.