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Nasty toxin helps E. coli survive in water

Strains of E. coli that produce the Shiga toxin last longer in lake water. The toxin appears to help E. coli fend off predators. “The take-home lesson is that E. coli that produce Shiga toxin persisted longer in recreational water than E. coli that don’t produce this toxin,” says study leader Gerald Koudelka, a professor of biological sciences at the University at Buffalo. “This is because the toxin appears to help E. coli resist predation by bacterial grazers.”

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