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Single-base-pair csgD promoter mutations in human outbreak Escherichia coli O157:H7 strains ATCC 43894 and ATCC 43895 coincided with differential Congo red dye binding from curli fiber expression. Red phenotype csgD::lacZ promoter fusions had fourfold-greater expression than white promoter fusions. Cloning the red variant csgDEFG operon into white variants induced the red phenotype. Substrate utilization differed between red and white variants.