<p>Escherichia coli ( /ˌɛʃɨˈrɪkiə ˈkoʊlaɪ/; commonly abbreviated E. coli) is a Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacterium 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 humans, and are occasionally responsible for product recalls due to food contamination. 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 and related bacteria 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 ideal indicator organisms to test environmental samples for fecal contamination. There is, however, a growing body of research that has examined environmentally persistent E. coli which can survive for extended periods of time outside of the host. The bacterium can also be grown easily and inexpensively in a laboratory setting, and has been intensively</p>