Relevance of tracking the diversity of Escherichia coli pathotypes to reinforce food safety

Yessica Enciso-Martínez, Gustavo A. González-Aguilar, Miguel A. Martínez-Téllez, Cristóbal J. González-Pérez, Dora E. Valencia-Rivera, Edwin Barrios-Villa, Jesús Fernando Ayala-Zavala*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Escherichia coli is among the most prevalent food contaminant microorganisms that have evolved, generating variants based on their effects on the host; these include commensals or pathobiont strains. The last classifications of E. coli intestinal pathobionts found in this review are enteroinvasive, enterohemorrhagic, enteropathogenic, enterotoxigenic, diffusely adherent, and enteroaggregative strains. Meanwhile, the most ancestral are enteropathogenic and enteroaggregative, and the most contemporaries are the enterotoxigenic and enteroinvasive strains. These pathobionts have been proposed based on their infective mechanisms, including toxin production, adherence effects, and tissue damage. It is also evidenced that environmental stresses, including bacterial exposition to antibiotics and disinfectants, contribute to this evolution. Therefore, new antibacterial and antivirulence agents are being explored, mainly from natural sources. In this context, this review discusses the diversity of E. coli pathobionts, their participation in foodborne outbreaks, and strategies to survey and control their spread and virulence.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109736
JournalInternational Journal of Food Microbiology
StatePublished - 2 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT) is thanked for the scholarship awarded to Enciso-Martínez for doctoral studies.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022


  • Antibiotics, food safety
  • Antivirulence agents
  • Escherichia coli
  • Pathotypes


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