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Compare the beneficial and detrimental effects of Escherichia coli on humans Essay Example

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2Safiah Labani

Beneficial and Detrimental Effects of E. coli


Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a prokaryote bacterium that is rod shaped, gram-negative and commonly found in the human intestinal tract (Perepelov et al. 2011). Although predominantly quite innocuous (Clark 2006), some of its strains are associated with illnesses such as travelers’ diarrhea, with its worst form manifesting itself in bloody diarrhea, possible kidney failure and at times death (Rayment et
al. 2011). Although often associated with disease, E. coli has several positive effects on human life. This paper discusses the beneficial and detrimental effects of Escherichia coli bacteria on human beings, mainly therough its use in genetic engineering and as a disease causing agent.

infections occur in the urinary tract, with over 90% of uncomplicated UTIs being due to the bacterium. E. coli infection within the gastro-intestinal or urinary tracts and most E. coli bacteremia comes before pneumonia and may arise as a result of E coli usually exists as bronchopneumonia in the lower lobes. E coli. (2006), Pneumonia associated with et al relate with Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs). According to Sprong nfections of the respiratory tract associated with E coli). IRoos et al. 2006in neonatal sepsis, has an 8% mortality rate and causes developmental and neurologic abnormalities in survivors (E coli which also occurs the K1 capsular strain of antigen E. coli, with pregnant women being more at risk of having. 2006). About 28.5% of neonatal meningitis is due to et al contributes to much human suffering through disease (Mazumdar coli E.

In spite of its disease causing effects, the bacterium has several positive effects and roles. First, it is important in enhancing the processes of the human gut. E. coli may benefit a human host through producing Vitamin K2 and also prevents the rise of pathogenic bacteria in the intestine (Friedman et al. 2006). According to Alexander and MacAllister (2008), it comprises one of the several bacterial populations which exist within the gastrointestinal tract and exists as a facultative anaerobic within the large intestine, enabling benign conditions for other neighboring tissues. The taking in of antibiotics as a way of fighting infections disrupts the activities of bacterial populations hence some of the E. coli helps in regrowing them and facilitating disease avoidance (Komasa et al. 2011).

E. coli in many instances plays the role of a normal microbiota. According to Rayment et
al. (2001) it usually colonizes a baby’s gastro-intestinal system within less than two days of birth, and is taken in with water, food or the people who handle the child. Within the bowel, it sticks to the mucous membrane of the large intestine and henceforth takes up the role of a facultative anaerobe in the gastrointestinal tract of human beings. Friedman et al. (2006) illustrate that as a facultative anaerobe, it is able to grow, whether there is oxygen or not and provided it does not adopt virulent factor genetic elements, it typically remains a benign commensal and comprises the normal functioning of the gut and digestive system in general.

Perepelov et al. (2011) further explains that one of the strains of E. coli named Nissle or Mutaflor is essentially non-pathogenic. It is applied in medicine as a probiotic agent, especially in treating several gastro-intestinal ailments, for instance inflammatory Bowel Disease. Roos et al. (2006) argue that the bacterium is also useful in genetic engineering. It has a universal genetic code to that of human beings and due to its relatively easy manipulation and long-time common application in laboratory culture and therefore commonly features in industrial microbiology and biological engineering. Alexander and MacAllister (2008) argue that the bacterium has also enabled the creation of genetic systems that make it possible to produce recombinant proteins by use of E. coli. According to Russo et al. (2007), a good example of useful application of recombinant DNA for human benefit is the traditional manipulation of the bacterium E. coli in the making of human insulin.

E. coli is in many instances associated with product recalls and food poisoning. However, it has of late been considered to be a possible source of energy in future. It is possible for the bacteria to assist in the production of energy that will power homes, cars and even machinery for human benefit (Rayment et
al. 2011). Through its genetic modification, researchers have managed to tweak one strain of the bacteria, resulting in the production of a considerable amount of hydrogen, estimated at 140 times the amount generated through natural processes (Rayment et
al. 2011).

Modified versions of E. coli are utilized in the development of vaccines used in disease prevention (Sprong et al. 2006). They are also used in producing immobilized enzymes and bioremediation. For instance, E. coli is in many instances adopted as the microorganism of choice for microbiological studies. E. coli K12, a cultivated strain is well adapted for use in laboratories. Unlike its wilder strains, it can no longer thrive within the intestine (Komasa et al. 2011). Friedman et al. (2006)also explain that the bacterium has a fast rate of growth, at a generation every twenty minutes within ordinary growth conditions. This makes it possible for log-phase cultures to be made overnight. These are the midway to maximum density varieties. Genetics experiments are therefore enabled to take place within hours rather than the typical many days, months or even years.

In conclusion, E. coli is a form of bacterium that is commonly present within the human and other warm-blooded animals’ guts. Most of its strains do not pose any harm to humans. Some however may cause serious food-borne diseases. The bacterium is passed to human beings mainly through eating contaminated food products, especially when undercooked and raw. While most of its strains are harmless, there are some that may lead to extensive food poisoning hence product recalls from time to time. The harmless varieties on the other hand exist as part of the normal internal environment of the human gut. Its ability to be easily manipulated and controlled also makes it useful in biotechnology hence improvement of human life.

Reference List

Alexander, Thomas and MacAllister, Tim. (2008). Effect of Sub- Therapeutic Administration of Antibiotics on the Prevalence of Antibiotic-Resistant Escherichia coli Bacteria. Journal of Applied Environmental Microbiology. Vol. 74: pp. 4405 — 4416

Clark, Bennett. (2006). The Effects of Chemicals on the Recombination Rate in Bacterium coli. Microbiology. Vol. 8: pp. 45 — 49

Friedman, Somech., Reif, Steven, Assia, Arav and Levy, Ivan. (2006). Clinical and Laboratory Characteristics of Non-E coli Urinary Tract Infections. Archives of Disease in Childhood. Vol. 91 (10): pp.845 — 846

Komasa, Mizuki., Fujishima, Kosuke., Hiraoka, Kiriko and Kanai, Akio. (2011). A Screening System for Artificial Small RNAs that Inhibit the Growth of Escherichia coli. Journal of Biochemistry. Vol. 150: pp. 289 – 294

Mazumdar, Kaushiki., Dutta, Kumar., Motohashi, Noboru and Shirataki, Yoshiaki. (2006). Diclofenac in the Management of E. coli Urinary Tract Infections. Vivo. Vol. 20: pp. 613- 619

Perepelov, Andrei., Li, Dan., Senchenkova, Sofya., Shashkov, Alexander and Wang, Lei. (2011). Structural and Genetic Characterization of the Closely Related O-antigens of Escherichia coli O85 and Salmonella Enterica O17. Innate Immunity. Vol. 17: pp. 164 – 173

Rayment, Avgousti., Karaiskos, Hudspith and Sanderson, Brostoff. (2011). Immune Profile of Gut: Mucosa T Cells Associated with E. coli Laden Macrophages in Crohn’s Disease. Gut. Vol. 60: p. 143

Roos, Viktoria., Ulett, Glen, Schembri, Mark and Klemm, Perl. (2006). The Asymptomatic Bacteriuria Escherichia coli Strain Outcompetes Uropathogenic E. coli Strains in Human Urine. Journal of Infection and Immunity. Vol. 74: 615 — 624

Russo, Thomas., Wang, Zhengdong., Davidson, Bruce., Genagon, Stacy., Beanan, Janet and Knight, Paul. (2007). Surfactant Dysfunction and Lung Injury due to the E. coli Virulence: Factor Hemolysin in a Rat Pneumonia Model. American Journal of Physiology. Vol. 292: pp. 632 — 643

Sprong, Tom, Netea, Mihai, Van der Ley, Peter, Stalenhoef, Anton and Van Deuren, Marcel. (2006). Human Lipoproteins have Divergent Neutralizing Effects on E. coli LPS, N. Meningitidis LPS, and Complete Gram-negative Bacteria. Journal of Lipid Research. Vol. 45: pp. 742 — 749