E. coli bacteria, SEM

E. coli bacteria, SEM

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Credit: STEVE GSCHMEISSNER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: E. coli bacteria. Coloured scanning electron micrograph of the rod-shaped, Gram-negative bacteria, Escherichia coli, commonly known as E. coli. These bacteria are normal inhabitants of the human intestine (also animal intestines) and are usually harmless. Under certain conditions E. coli may increase in number and cause infection. Serotypes of E. coli are responsible for gastroenteritis in children, particularly in tropical countries. In adults it is the cause of "traveller's diarrhoea"; and of 80% of all urinary tract infections. It is also the organism most used in genetic studies. Magnification: x8000 when printed at 10 centimetres wide.

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