Do E.coli have eyes?

 - by KitchenPantryScientist

Last night, one of my nursing students brought this cute little E.coli bacteria in to be our microbiology class mascot.

Bacteria are classified, or grouped, by shape, and this little guy is rod-shaped just like all of his close relatives.  E.coli are called gram-negative bacteria because their cell walls are put together with special building blocks that can’t be stained with certain dyes they use to tell bacteria apart from one another.

See the little ropes coming out of our mascot’s body?  Some E.coli have whip-like filaments called flagella protruding from their body that can help them move around, making them “motile.”

Many E.coli are normal occupants in animal and human intestines and don’t make people sick, but there are some strains of E.coli that can make people very sick.  E.coli 0157:H7 is probably the most famous of these and can be contracted from eating undercooked hamburger that has been contaminated with the bacteria.

And no, bacteria don’t have eyes.  But they sure look cute on our mascot.

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