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No organism has been more studied than the Escherichia coli (or E. coli) bacterium. It is also the most prevalent infecting organism known to exist. More than 700 strains of E. coli have been identified since 1885 when the German bacteriologist Theodor Escherich discovered the bacteria in the human colon. (Although initially called Bacterium coli, the name was later changed to Escherichia coli to honor its discoverer.) Escherich went on to prove that certain strains of the E. coli bacteria were responsible for infant diarrhea and other gastrointestinal disorders, revealing the bacteria to be of great importance to public health. This importance has not waned, especially when it comes to protecting the public from food contaminated with disease-causing (pathogenic) strains of the E. coli bacteria, ...

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