Escherichia coli

RANK: Species

TAXONOMY: Bacteria -> Proteobacteria -> Gammaproteobacteria -> Enterobacteriales -> Enterobacteriaceae -> Escherichia -> Escherichia coli


'Escherichia coli' (; also known as 'E. coli') is a Gram-negative, facultatively anaerobic, rod-shaped bacterium of the genus Escherichia that is commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms (endotherms). Most E. coli strains are harmless, but some serotypes can cause serious food poisoning in their hosts, and are occasionally responsible for product recalls due to food contamination. Yet, E. coli is an essential organism to humans The harmless strains are part of the normal flora of the gut, and can benefit their hosts by producing vitamin K2, and preventing colonization of the intestine with pathogenic bacteria. E. coli and other facultative anaerobes constitute about 0.1% of gut flora, and fecal–oral transmission is the major route through which pathogenic strains of the bacterium cause disease. Cells are able to survive outside the body for a limited amount of time, which makes them potential indicator organisms to test environmental samples for fecal contamination. A growing body of research, though, has examined environmentally persistent E. coli which can survive for extended periods outside of a host. The bacterium can be grown and cultured easily and inexpensively in a laboratory setting, and has been intensively investigated for over 60 years. E. coli is a chemoheterotroph whose chemically defined medium must include a source of carbon and energy.

Organic growth factors included in chemically defined medium used to grow E. coli includes glucose, ammonium phosphate, mono basic, sodium chloride, magnesium sulfate, potassium phosphate, dibasic, and water. The exact chemical composition is known for media that is considered chemically defined medium. E. coli is the most widely studied prokaryotic model organism, and an important species in the fields of biotechnology and microbiology, where it has served as the host organism for the majority of work with recombinant DNA. Under favorable conditions, it takes only 20 minutes to reproduce.Identified as a constituent of the oral microbiome by Human Oral Microbiome Database.

E. coli is lysine decarboxylase (LDC) positive. Unexpectedly, E. coli was found here for the first time to negatively correlate with the BMI (coefficient=-1.05; 95% CI -1.60 to -0.50; P<0.001). [PMID: 23459324] Enriched in type II diabetics.

This species has been identified as a resident in the human gastrointestinal tract based on the phylogenetic framework of its small subunit ribosomal RNA gene sequences.[PMC 4262072]

Gut associated
Core species
Propionate producer
Oral microbiome
Fecal distribution

Substrates/ Growth Factors
  • L-Lysine
  • D-Glucose
  • xylo-oligosaccharides (XOS)
  • L-Arabinose
  • N-Acetyl-D-glucosamine
  • Lactate [parent]
  • L-Tryptophan
  • Fucose
  • L-Ornithine

  • Metabolic Endproducts
  • Methanol
  • Riboflavin
  • Propionate
  • 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT, Serotonin) [parent]
  • Putrescine
  • Pentanol
  • Indole
  • Cadaverine

  • Growth Inhibited by
  • Salvia officinalis [parent]
  • Plantain bananas [parent]
  • Tannic acid
  • Glycyrrhizic acid [parent]
  • Oregano essential oil [parent]
  • Resistant starch (type III) [parent]
  • Propyl gallate
  • Allium sativa [parent]
  • Astragalus [parent]
  • Quercetin
  • Chemotherapy [parent]
  • Vitamin D [parent]
  • Berberine
  • Polymannuronic acid
  • Garlic (allicin) [parent]
  • Lactobacillus reuteri [parent]
  • Cinnamon bark oil [parent]
  • Triphala [parent]
  • Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)
  • Oregano essential oil
  • Methyl gallate
  • Ascophyllum nodosum (rockweed) [parent]
  • Oplopanax horridus [parent]

  • Growth Enhanced By
  • Metformin [parent]

  • Biotransforms
  • Tannin
  • Daidzein

  • Transform Product
  • Equol sulphate