JOHN DURHAM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN DURHAM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Photograph of petri dish cultures growing mixed colonies of the bacteria Escherichia coli (larger, pink) & Proteus vulgaris (smaller, brown). Under normal circumstances, both bacteria are harmless inhabitants of the human intestines. They are generally involved in digestion - E. coli specifically fermenting lactose. They can, however, both become pathogenic, E. coli causing infections of the urinogenital tract, Proteus vulgaris of the urinary tract. The latter bacterium is also associated with decaying organic matter. E. coli is the most researched bacterium, the knowledge from which has led to many of the advances in genetic engineering & biotechnology.
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