E-Coli (short for Escherichia Coli) is classified as follows:
*Kingdom -- Eubacteria
*Family-- Enterobacteriaceae
*Genus-- Escherichia
*Species-- Coli
What On Earth Is E-Coli
Escherichia Coli
E-Coli Is the abbreviated name of the bacterium Escherichia Coli. Approximately 0.1% of the total bacteria in a humans intestines are E-Coli. This may not sound like much but when you consider there are millions of bacteria in the intestines its quite a lot. E-Coli is one of the most common food poisoning bacteria in the world.However it cannot be eliminated as these bacteria are normal inhabitants of animals, plants, water and other natural resources and without it these things could not function properly. Most raw foods especially meat, poultry and seafood contain E-Coli but is only 'activated' when subjected to certain conditions. Most animals contain some form of E-Coli but only some are dangerous. Most just sit in the bodies of the animals and are never a threat. Most cases of food poisoning are caused by simple errors in the kitchen.
Who Discovered This Dangerous Little Bug?
A German pioneer paediatrician and bacteriologist Theodor Escherich discovered E-Coli. He was a doctor that devoted his life to improving child care, especially infant hygiene and nutrition. Eshcherich was born on November 29, 1859 in Nsbach, Mittelfranklin and lived a happy and productive life. He helped countless small children through the various hospitals and institutions he worked at throughout his life. At 25 Eshcherich was fresh out of university and he was employed as the assisitant of Karl Gerdhart who was one of Germany's leading Interns. Gerdhart aroused Escherich's interest for bacteriology and encouraged Eshcherich to get involved in the science. Escherich was convinced that bacteriology was closely linked with paediatric problems and believed that by studying both he could solve many medical mysteries. He didn't quite do this but he did advance research into bacterial disease and of course stumbled across E-Coli. E-Coli wasn't named until after his death in 1911.
How does It Affect Humans and The Microbial Community
E-Coli actually isn't a bad bacteria. We need it in our bodies to keep them healthy and functioning properly and also to fully develop. A lot of bacteria start off good, providing us with vitamins and then all of a sudden when mixed with something else they turn bad and make us sick. We pretty much depend on E-Coli in our intestines to provide us with Vitamin K and B Complex vitamins which play a vital role in keeping us strong and healthy. When a human baby is inside the womb it is totally sterile with no bacteria but as soon as it is born hundreds of bacteria flood in and take over and start producing vitamins straight away. E-Coli fits in in the microbial community by functioning with other bacterias and helps to digest our food and carry it thorugh our intestines. But what happens when the good E-Coli meets some bad food? Things turn nasty........
What E-Coli Poisoning Does To You and How To Prevent It
E-Coli is one of the most common food poisoning bacteria in the world affecting over 2 million people in Australia alone annually. Many people  dismiss food poisoning as just a stomachache but it can be much more serious. Thousands of people have died from E-Coli poisoning in a horrible and painful way slowly losing control of their body and finally not having enough strength to keep breathing. Some mild symptoms of ‘Diarrhea’ (the sickness caused by E-Coli poisoning {Not to be confused with Diarrhoea}) are nausea, stomach cramps, Diarrhoea, fever and headaches. In worse cases these symptoms are a lot more severe and can cause other diseases like meningitis and many other inner infections. Bacteria grow quickly and spread in the right circumstances this is why all raw food must be kept and cooked in careful conditions. The factors that affect bacterial growth are: Time  - one bacterium can grow to 3 million in seven hours. Temperature - Perishable food must either be kept very hot or very cold as bacteria thrive in conditions between 5°C and 60°C. Water -  Bacteria needs water to grow. This is why dried foods do not spoil. To prevent food poisoning it is important to: Cook foods thoroughly and properly. Keep bacteria on raw foods, particularly raw meats, away from prepared food. Wash hands before preparing food and after going to the toilet to prevent bacteria from your body getting in prepared foods.
Single E-Coli Cell      E-Coli colony in a Petri Dish
Written and Created By Amy Toovey 8R