13 Facts About Clostridium botulinum


Clostridium botulinum is a Gram-positive, rod-shaped, anaerobic, spore-forming, motile bacterium with the ability to produce the neurotoxin botulinum.

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Clostridium botulinum is commonly associated with bulging canned food; bulging, misshapen cans can be due to an internal increase in pressure caused by gas produced by bacteria.

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However, C botulinum tolerates traces of oxygen due to the enzyme superoxide dismutase, which is an important antioxidant defense in nearly all cells exposed to oxygen.

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Clostridium botulinum is divided into four distinct phenotypic groups and is classified into seven serotypes based on the antigenicity of the Clostridium botulinum toxin produced.

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Group IV C botulinum has not been shown to cause human or animal disease.

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However, these integrations sites are degraded, indicating that the C botulinum acquired the toxin genes quite far in the evolutionary past.

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Clostridium botulinum was first recognized and isolated in 1895 by Emile van Ermengem from home-cured ham implicated in a botulism outbreak.

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Complete genome of C botulinum has been sequenced at Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in 2007.

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The type-E C botulinum was suggested to be a true aquatic organism, which was indicated by the correlation between the level of type-E contamination and flooding of the land with seawater.

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Type-A C botulinum has been found in Sydney suburbs and types A and B were isolated from urban areas.

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Clostridium botulinum is used to prepare the medicaments Botox, Dysport, Xeomin, and Neurobloc used to selectively paralyze muscles to temporarily relieve muscle function.

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Control of food-borne botulism caused by C botulinum is based almost entirely on thermal destruction of the spores or inhibiting spore germination into bacteria and allowing cells to grow and produce toxins in foods.

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Growth of C botulinum is a risk in low acid foods as defined by having a pH above 4.

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