Survival and implantation of Escherichia coli in the intestinal tract.

Infection and Immunity
R FreterK E Carey


Preliminary experiments established that a 0.5-ml inoculum that is introduced directly into the stomach of mice was cleared rapidly into the small intestine. Bicarbonate buffer, but not skim milk, protected such an inoculum from stomach acid until at least 90% of it had entered the small intestine. Passage and survival of various Escherichia coli strains through the mouse gut were tested by introducing a buffered bacterial inoculum directly into the stomach, together with the following two intestinal tracers: Cr(51)Cl(3) and spores of a thermophilic Bacillus sp. Quantitative recovery of excreted bacteria was accomplished by collecting the feces overnight in a refrigerated cage pan. The data show that wild-type E. coli strains and E. coli K-12 are excreted rapidly (98 to 100% within 18 h) in the feces without overall multiplication or death. E. coli varkappa1776 and DP50supF, i.e., strains certified for recombinant DNA experiments underwent rapid death in vivo, such that their excretion in the feces was reduced to approximately 1.1 and 4.7% of the inoculum, respectively. The acidity of the stomach had little bactericidal effect on the E. coli K-12 strain tested, but significantly reduced the survival of more acidsensitive bacter...Continue Reading


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