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The Effects Of Human Stomach Acid On E.coli

             Livestock, especially cattle, serve as a reservoir of the E. The microbes live in the bovine gastrointestinal tract, though usually causing no harm to the host. A small share of the bacterium can be shed, however, through the animals" feces. If at slaughter, the meat becomes contaminated with traces of the harmful feces, it may be ingested by humans and cause harmful, even deadly, disease. In this, the person may become very ill with severe stomach cramps, bloody diarreah, and a fever accompanied by headache.
             Research now shows that the cattle's diet may play a particuarly large role in how easily the bacterium may be spred. Cattle is usually fed grain to fatten it up and make the meat more tender; however, it also easily ferments in the cattle's stomach. This fermentation gives theE.coli a great place to live and multiply. When fed hay, even as little as five days prior to slaughter, the fermentation process does not take place and theE.coli may be eliminated.
             E.coli, or Escherichia, is a common bacterium in the gastrointestional tract, but is usually outnumbered by other types of bacteria. E.coli is never a beneficial bacterium, but under normal circumstances the animal or human and the E.coli tolerate each other. A disease causing strain, such as E.coli 0157:H7 produces toxins that cause harmful effects and even kidney failure. As few as 10 viable E.coli 0157:H7 can cause an infection. The E.coli that contaminate beef typically originate from the hide, hooves, or the equipment used in slaughter and processing, rather that directly from the colon, where they live; hince, they are resistant to weak stomach acids (wellesley.edu 03 Oct 01). Only a small percentage of cattle shed E.coli 0157:H7 in their feces (news.edu 03 Oct 01). .
             Humans have a natural barrior that kills food-borne bacteria with the acidic, gastric juices of the stomach; but, E.coli can withstand "acid shock" if they have grown in the presence of fermenting acids (news.

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