E coli bacteria. Picture taken from a public domain


Escherichia coli O157: H7 interacts with many different organisms. It interacts with other bacteria that live in the gut but also the organisms that it uses as a host.

This strand of E coli is toxic to most humans. If you want to learn more about how the toxin works click here.  In humans it will release this toxin and cause the person to feel sick. The person will have diarrhea and possibly be vomiting.

A phages diagram. Photo taken from public domain. Photo taken by Leptictidium.This strain of E. coli is able to live in ruminants (a type of herbivore with a different way of digesting food). The E. coli O157 are mainly in the rumen part of the stomach. They help with the break down of cellulose. Without bacteria in the gut of ruminants would not be able to break down the cellulose from the plants. To learn more about the ruminants digestive system click here. To learn more about individual ruminant species click on the following links.
White-tailed deer

There are some viruses called bacteriophages (phages) that are able to invade E. coli O157:H7 and causes lysis. These phages are common commensals of many kinds of foods. As of current research these phages have been determined to be safe. These phages have been keeping the bacteria in check on many foods, thus making them safe for human consumption.

Want to know about the toxin E. coli emits? Click here to find out more.