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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2004 Nov;2(11):898-907.

Escherichia coli acid resistance: tales of an amateur acidophile.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of South Alabama College of Medicine, Mobile, Alabama 36695, USA.


Gastrointestinal pathogens are faced with an extremely acidic environment. Within moments, a pathogen such as Escherichia coli O157:H7 can move from the nurturing pH 7 environment of a hamburger to the harsh pH 2 milieu of the stomach. Surprisingly, certain microorganisms that grow at neutral pH have elegantly regulated systems that enable survival during excursions into acidic environments. The best-characterized acid-resistance system is found in E. coli.

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