Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli. The Twentieth Century's Emerging Foodborne Pathogen: A Review

Stelios Viazis, Francisco Diez-Gonzalez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) have been recognized as a cause of serious illness and mortality in outbreaks of foodborne illness that involve a large variety of foods. In general, most pathogenic strains behave biochemically and ecologically like any other nonpathogenic E. coli, making their detection among commensal E. coli an important problem, especially among EHEC. E. coli infections in humans are transmitted directly from animals, by person-to-person contact or through contaminated foods. Multiple massive outbreaks associated with the consumption of fresh vegetables have occurred in the past as evidenced by the bagged spinach and lettuce in the United States. There have been numerous studies on pre- and postharvest intervention methods, but the problem is still at large. In the United States and in other countries, the presence of this pathogen in foods is highly regulated and there have been rapid scientific advances in understanding the growth and survival of the pathogen in various foods. This chapter highlights the current understanding of EHEC from the perspectives of food microbiology, molecular microbiology, biochemistry, epidemiology, and agricultural practices with main emphasis on leafy green vegetables. This thesis stresses the importance of developing novel control strategies that are effective and have the potential to be considered natural or organic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-50
Number of pages50
JournalAdvances in Agronomy
StatePublished - Apr 26 2011


  • Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli
  • Foodborne pathogen
  • Green fluorescent protein
  • Hemolytic uremic syndrome
  • Hemorrhagic colitis
  • Pathogenic strains

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