Definition of coliform bacterium in US English:

coliform bacterium


  • A rod-shaped bacterium, especially Escherichia coli and members of the genus Aerobacter, found in the intestinal tract of humans and other animals. Its presence in water indicates fecal contamination and can cause diarrhea and other dysenteric symptoms.

    Also called colon bacillus
    • ‘Porter's widely reported discovery of a fecal coliform bacterium as the causal agent of coral disease in the Florida Keys influenced the upgrade of wastewater treatment facilities there.’
    • ‘Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a fecal coliform bacterium commonly found in the intestines of animals and humans.’
    • ‘A positive sample means that at least one coliform bacterium is present, and requires the collection of a set of three additional samples at or near the same location in the distribution system.’
    • ‘The coliform bacterium Escherichia coli detects attractants and repellents in its environment by means of four homologous, dimeric receptors, Tar, Tsr, Trg, and Tap.’
    • ‘E.coli is a coliform bacterium that has many subspecies; the majority are hosts of normal intestinal flora.’


Early 20th century: from modern Latin coli, specific epithet in the sense ‘of the colon’ + -form + bacterium.


coliform bacterium