An extended square root-type model describing Escherichia coli growth rate was developed as a function of temperature (7.63-47.43 degrees C), water activity (0.951-0.999, adjusted with NaCl), pH (4.02-8.28) and lactic acid concentration (0-500 mM). The new model, based on 236 growth rate data, combines and extends previously published square root-type models and incorporates terms for upper and lower limiting temperatures, upper and lower limiting pH, minimum inhibitory concentrations of dissociated and undissociated lactic acid and lower limiting water activity. A term to describe upper limiting water activity was developed but could not be fitted to the E. coli data set because of the difficulty of generating data in the super-optimal water activity range (i.e. >0.998). All data used to generate the model are presented. The model provides an excellent description of the experimental data.