(E. Coli) is part of the common microﬂora in the large intestine, causing no harm tothe host. Because it is a fast growing prokaryote, it is widely used in laboratories for growing culturesfor testing and experimentation. By identifying the optimal growth conditions and environmentaltolerances for the K-12 strain, E.coli may be more eﬃciently cultured for laboratory experimentation.
As E. coli is part of the common microﬂora in the large intestine, it is accustomed to a pH of 7-8and body temperature of 37
C. As glucose is absorbed in the small intestine, the E. coli would beused to low concentrations. However, as glucose (C
) is its energy source, if excess glucose wereavailable for consumption, it would be expected that the E. coli would utilise it and grow at a fasterrate. Salt (NaCl) is absorbed in the colon, so the amount of salt that the E. coli is exposed to dependson how much salt is consumed by the host organism. However, because of the mechanism of osmosis,extremely high levels as well as complete absence of salt could be lethal to E. coli bacteria.
1.2 Cell Structure
The shape of the E. Coli bacterium is cylindrical, and it is covered in ﬁmbriae (ﬂagellum-like structuresprotruding from the cell membrane that propel the bacterium through its medium). (Wikipedia, 2008)E. coli is also
, which means that its cell wall is composed of a layer of peptidoglycan,opposed to the phospholipid bilayer of gram-positive bacteria. (MedicineNet, 1999)Figure 1:
bacterium (Ussery, 2001)E. coli bacteria are prokaryotic, meaning that they do not have a nucleus. Instead, their DNAis continuous chromosome in the shape of a ring which is called a
. Because the plasmid issuspended in the cytoplasm, it is very easy for the E. Coli bacteria to take up extraneous DNA andRNA fragments and add them to their genome. This makes E. Coli an ideal laboratory specimen forstudying genetic mutation and conducting recombinant DNA experiments.2