Escherichia coli (E. Coli) is a gram-negative bacterium that is exists as a normal flora in the intestinal tract of both healthy animals and humans. Most strains of E. coli are harmless, but some can cause disease.
Transmission: E. coli are commonly found in fecal matter and lower intestinal tract of warm-blooded organisms. Shedding of E. coli in feces makes this microorganism abundantly available in the environment. As a result, E. coli can be recovered from water, soil, contaminated food material, and surfaces.
Survival in environment: Decline rate increases at high pH in manure. The availability of resources such as carbon substrates probably is the main critical factor that affects the persistence of E. coli in open environments such as soil and water.