E. coli bacteria, coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). Escherichia coli is a rod-shaped bacterium (bacillus). Bacteria are unicellular, prokaryotic organisms. E. coli is a normal component of the intestinal bacterial flora, but under certain conditions can cause gastroenteritis and urinary tract infections. In favourable conditions E. coli bacteria can divide every 20 or 30 minutes and so rapidly increase in number. Magnification: x34,600 when printed 10cm wide.
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