E coli bacteria. Picture taken from a public domain


                              Nutritional food pyramid for humans. Photo taken from public domian. United State Department of Agriculture.

Escherichia coli O157:H7 is a heterotrophic organism. This means it must eat food to obtain its energy, it can not create energy by itself. With E coli O157:H7 this source of energy comes from a host. If the host is able to withstand the toxin produced they will be able to house the  bacteria with out a problem. This bacteria will absorb the nutrients it needs from the host. To survive the bacteria must be able to accumulate the following elements from the host: Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen and Sulfur. These can be found in water, macromolecules, or macromolecules. The host will eat material and E. coli O157:H7 can absorb these materials as they pass through the digestive tract of the host. Even better for this bacteria is that by the time the food gets to where the E. coli lives is that the host has already started to break down the molecules making it easier for E. coli to absorb them into its system. The main source of energy for E. coli, however, is carbon.

                                               A human meal that can be infectedl. Picture taken from a public domain. Photo taken by Alisdair McDiarmid.

Ever wonder how E. coli reproduces? click here to find out!