A similar multistate outbreak was reported in late 2011, with 58 cases of food poisoning being linked to the presence of E. coli O157:H7 in romaine lettuce in five different cities in the United States (84). These major outbreaks illustrate the risks associated with the consumption of leafy greens as well as the food safety challenges they present for consumers and agricultural producers.PV1 The contamination of fresh vegetables with enteric pathogens has reached concerning proportions in recent years. Numerous outbreaks associated with the consumption of contaminated lettuce, spinach, and various types of sprouts have been reported in the United States, Canada, Asia, and Europe (Table 1). One of the largest outbreaks of foodborne diseases ever described may have been linked to the consumption of white radish sprouts contaminated with E. coli strain O157:H7. Approximately 10,000 cases were reported in at least 14 different locations in Japan; the most affected individuals were children (96).  

Escherichia coli are the predominant facultative anaerobe of the human gut. E. coli and host share mutual benefit as it colonizes the infant gastrointestinal tract within hours of life. , and, thereafter, E. coli and the host derive mutual benefit (169). E. coli usually remains harmlessly confined to the intestinal lumen; however, in the debilitated or immune suppressed host, or when gastrointestinal barriers are violated, even normal “nonpathogenic” strains of E. coli can cause infection.  (Diarrheagenic Escherichia coli JAMES P. NATARO* AND JAMES B. KAPER)

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causing serious illness and death.

pathogen, with some members of the species capable of

principally a commensal organism, is now emerging as a foodborne

Bacterium Escherichia coli once believed to be

Jonathan Josephs-Spaulding1)

can become opportunistic pathogens. (Human microbiome versus food-borne pathogens: friend or foe

organisms; some are commensal or mutualist, and some

the human microbiome, there are a host of interactions between

the secretion of T cells (Olszak et al. 2012). Within

pathogens (Erturk-Hasdemir and Kasper 2013) and increasing

immune system, preventing colonization by opportunistic

et al. 2014). The human microbiome can also act like a secondary

Sartor 2009; Larsen et al. 2010; Krych et al. 2013; David

obesity, allergies, diabetes, and cancer (Packey and

diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease,

gut biota may have a major underlying role in a variety of

It has been accepted that alterations in diversity of the human It has been accepted that alterations in diversity of the human

and affects the type of microbiome and its performance.

communities, and a variety of environmental factors determines

The interaction between organisms, their host microbial

with their host organism, and their microbial diversity.

microorganisms, the unique genes that they express, their interactions

Kasper 2013). The human microbiome is a complex system of

host organism could not live without (Erturk-Hasdemir and

and Taylor 2009), and a functional immune system that the

Klaenhammer 2009), essential organic compounds (Hattori

byproducts that may stimulate health (Schroeter and

vitamins through biosynthesis (Yatsunenko et al. 2012), metabolic

the human body while also producing valuable and essential

microorganisms, which fill niches within the ecosystem of

rooted evolutionary symbiosis exists between humans and

and colon (Eckburg et al. 2005; Ley et al. 2006). A deeply

system, with the greatest quantity in the large intestines

Many of those organisms are bacteria within the gastrointestinal

1014 microbial cells that are not its own (Clemente et al. 2012).

microbiota. The human body is occupied by about

filling their own niche while interacting with their own host associated

Organisms are covered with trillions of microorganisms, each