• Question: Why do you use the E.coli bacteria? Is there a specific reason for using this bacteria, or is it just a generally easy bacteria to use? Many thanks

    Asked by gracempinn to Jo on 19 Jun 2014.
    • Photo: Jo Nettleship

      Jo Nettleship answered on 19 Jun 2014:

      E. coli is useful as it grows very quickly so you don’t have to wait around for it to make lots of your protein. It has a doubling time of 20 minutes at 37’C. It’s also very robust so you can’t kill it by accident (although you can with disinfectant). The E. coli we use is a special strain which cannot survive without specific nutrients which we give it in the lab. It’s not quite the same as the one you hear about in the news with food poisoning. It means it cannot contaminate the local area.