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Name: Ryan S.
Status: Student
Age: 14
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: March 2004

Hi. I was just wondering about the reaction between vinegar and non-pathogenic e. coli. I read one of your articles and it said that Vinegar would not affect E. coli O157:H7, but is there a difference between non-pathogenic and pathogenic?

Pathogenic means "disease-causing," so nonpathogenic means not having the ability to cause disease. Think of E coli as a species with many subtypes, kind of like Canis familiaris, the dog. There are many kinds of dogs, but they are still all dogs. But some of them are pit bulls and some are golden retrievers. E coli O157:H7 is the pit bull of the E coli's. It has acquired genes by exchanging with other kinds of bacteria that are nasty. We all have E. coli in our intestines, hence the name "coli" which means colon. Most are the gentle, golden retriever type. They also tend to be the most sensitive and the most easily killed by germicides. One of the reasons O157:H7 is so nasty is that it is a more resistant type. I haven't personally read about vinegar not killing O157:H7, but if it doesn't, that is probably one of the reasons why.


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