Bacteria and Vinegar
Name: Ryan S.
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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