FRANCIS LEROY, BIOCOSMOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY FRANCIS LEROY, BIOCOSMOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
E. coli bacterium, artwork. The Escherichia coli bacterium is a Gram-negative bacillus (rod-shaped bacterium). It has a long flagellum (thin thread-like structure at upper right) that is used for movement. The filaments on the sides of the bacterium are pili, thin strands of protein used when two bacteria conjugate (transfer DNA). E. coli is a normal inhabitant of the human intestine. However, under certain conditions its numbers may increase, causing infection.
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