Escherichia /ˌɛʃəˈrɪkiə/ is a genus of Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, facultatively anaerobic, rod-shaped bacteria from the family Enterobacteriaceae.[3] In those species which are inhabitants of the gastrointestinal tracts of warm-blooded animals, Escherichia species provide a portion of the microbially derived vitamin K for their host. A number of the species of Escherichia are pathogenic.[4] The genus is named after Theodor Escherich, the discoverer of Escherichia coli. Physiologically, it is a facultative aerobe, meaning that it can grow happily with or without oxygen, but it cannot grow at extremes of temperature or pH nor can it degrade dangerous pollutants, photosynthesize, or do a variety of other things that interest microbiologists.[5]

SEM micrograph of cluster of Escherichia coli bacteria. Each individual bacterium is oblong shaped
Scientific classification

Castellani & Chalmers 1919[1]
Type species
Escherichia coli
(Escherich, 1886)

E. albertii
E. coli
E. fergusonii
E. hermannii
E. marmotae[2]
E. vulneris


While many Escherichia are commensal members of the gut microbiota, certain strains of some species, most notably the serotypes of Escherichia coli, are human pathogens,[6] and are the most common cause of urinary tract infections,[7] significant sources of gastrointestinal disease, ranging from simple diarrhea to dysentery-like conditions,[3] as well as a wide range of other pathogenic states[8] classifiable in general as colonic escherichiosis. While E. coli is responsible for the vast majority of Escherichia-related pathogenesis, other members of the genus have also been implicated in human disease.[9][10] Escherichia are associated with the imbalance of microbiota of the lower reproductive tract of women. These species are associated with inflammation.[11]

See also


  1. Castellani, Aldo; Chalmers, Albert J. (1919). "Genus Escherichia Castellani and Chalmers, 1918". Manual of Tropical Medicine. New York: William Wood and Company. pp. 941–943.
  2. Parte, A.C. "Escherichia".
  3. Madigan M; Martinko J, eds. (2005). Brock Biology of Microorganisms (11th ed.). Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-144329-1.
  4. C.Michael Hogan. 2010. Bacteria. Encyclopedia of Earth. eds. Sidney Draggan and C.J.Cleveland, National Council for Science and the Environment, Washington DC Archived May 11, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  5. Blount, Zachary D. "The Unexhausted Potential of E. Coli." US National Library of Medicine. NCBI, 25 Mar. 2015. Web. 7 Nov. 2018.
  6. Guentzel MN (1996). Baron S; et al. (eds.). Escherichia, Klebsiella, Enterobacter, Serratia, Citrobacter, and Proteus. In: Baron's Medical Microbiology (4th ed.). Univ of Texas Medical Branch. ISBN 0-9631172-1-1. (via NCBI Bookshelf).
  7. Ronald A (2003). "The etiology of urinary tract infection: traditional and emerging pathogens". Disease-a-Month. 49 (2): 71–82. doi:10.1067/mda.2003.8. PMID 12601338.
  8. "The Species of Escherichia other than E. coli". The Prokaryotes. Retrieved 2006-05-05.
  9. Pien FD, Shrum S, Swenson JM, Hill BC, Thornsberry C, Farmer JJ 3rd (1985). "Colonization of human wounds by Escherichia vulneris and Escherichia hermannii". J Clin Microbiol. 22 (2): 283–5. PMC 268376. PMID 3897270.
  10. Chaudhury A, Nath G, Tikoo A, Sanyal SC (1999). "Enteropathogenicity and antimicrobial susceptibility of new Escherichia spp". J Diarrhoeal Dis Res. 17 (2): 85–7. PMID 10897892.
  11. Bennett, John (2015). Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's principles and practice of infectious diseases. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier/Saunders. ISBN 9781455748013; Access provided by the University of Pittsburgh
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