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Strain Typing and the Ecological Structure of Escherichia coli

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Escherichia coli is a commonly encountered commensal of the lower intestinal tract of humans and other mammals. Strains of the species are responsible for a significant amount of human morbidity and mortality each year. Consequently, numerous efforts attempt to track the movement of hospital-acquired infections, determine the source of a foodborne disease outbreak, or investigate the seasonal patterns of pathogen abundance in domestic animals. All of these endeavors require that the isolates acquired be differentiated from each other in some manner. This review briefly describes some of the commonly used molecular typing methods for E. coli. However, the main aim of the review is to describe the many levels, from the species to individual strains, at which E. coli can be considered, and to contend that a hierarchical approach to strain typing may often reveal patterns that are not obvious when a typing scheme is simply designed to differentiate isolates.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Australian National University, Research School of Biology, Canberra ACT 0200, Australia.

Publication date: May 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL publishes refereed papers and reviews in the fields of chemical, biological and toxicological analytical chemistry for the purpose of showcasing the most precise, accurate and sensitive methods for analysis of foods, food additives, supplements and contaminants, cosmetics, drugs, toxins, hazardous substances, pesticides, feeds, fertilizers and the environment available at that point in time. The scope of the Journal includes unpublished original research describing new analytical methods, techniques and applications; improved approaches to sampling, both in the field and the laboratory; better methods of preparing samples for analysis; collaborative studies substantiating the performance of a given method; statistical techniques for evaluating data. The Journal will also publish other articles of general interest to its audience, e.g., technical communications; cautionary notes; comments on techniques, apparatus, and reagents.
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