Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Link to article: http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/348117/description/Inflammation_feeds_E_coli 

E. Coli is a bacteria found in the lower intestine of most mammals including humans. Most E. Coli bacteria is harmless, but certain strains are known to cause food poisoning in humans and can even cause death. Andreas Bäumler of the University of California recently found that people who suffer from with inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease have a far greater amount of E. Coli in their lower intestine than those with health colons. 

Scientists went on to study the reasons for why bowel inflamation would cause such large amount of E. Coli bacteria in a persons body. They were able to conclude that it was because of nitrogen gases produced by the body when the intestine becomes inflamed or irritated. While most of the other bacteria in the colon are not affected by the nitrogen gases, the E. Coli bacteria contains an enzyme that can use nitrogen gas to produce energy.

The nitrogen gas acts as a fast food restaurant for the E. Coli bacteria and they can multiply at a shocking rate. This rapid growth also takes away energy from other bacteria which can cause an huge bacterial imbalance in the lower intestine. The normal amount of E. Coli bacteria in a healthy colon is about 0.1 percent E. Coli to 99.9 percent other bacteria. In a person with bowel inflammation  the amount of E. Coli can be as great as 10 percent. 

NOS themes:
  • Science is collaborative
  • Role of motivation and curiosity
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