Survival of Escherichia coli O157 in a soil protozoan: implications for disease

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1999 Apr 15;173(2):291-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.1999.tb13516.x.


Intra-protozoal growth of bacterial pathogens has been associated with increased environmental survival, virulence and resistance to biocides and antibiotics. Using laboratory microcosms we have shown that Escherichia coli O157 survives and replicates in a common environmental protozoan, Acanthamoeba polyphaga. As protozoa are widely distributed in soils and effluents, they may constitute an important environmental reservoir for transmission of E. coli O157 and other pathogens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acanthamoeba / microbiology*
  • Animals
  • Bacterial Toxins / biosynthesis
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Escherichia coli Infections / transmission*
  • Escherichia coli O157 / growth & development*
  • Escherichia coli O157 / metabolism
  • Hemolytic-Uremic Syndrome / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Shiga Toxin 1
  • Soil


  • Bacterial Toxins
  • Shiga Toxin 1
  • Soil