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a bacterial species that occurs widely in nature and is a frequent cause of food poisoning (botulism) from preserved meats, fruits, or vegetables that have not been properly sterilized before canning. The main types, A-F, are characterized by antigenically distinct, but pharmacologically similar, very potent neurotoxins, each of which can be neutralized only by the specific antitoxin; group C toxin contains at least two components; the recorded cases of human botulism have been due mainly to types A, B, E, and F; infant botulism occurs when colonization of the gastrointestinal tract with Clostridium botulinum results in absorption of the toxin through the gastrointestinal wall; type Cα causes botulism in domestic and wild water fowl; Cβ and D are associated with intoxications in cattle. Type E is usually associated with improperly processed fish products.
Etymology: Gk, kloster, spindle
a species of anaerobic bacteria that causes botulism in humans and botulism-like diseases in other animals. Botulinus food poisoning results from ingesting food containing preformed toxins produced by the species. It is a proteolytic pathogen commonly present in soil, where its endospores can survive for years. Their resistance to heat makes them an important source of poisoning in improperly cooked or canned foods.
Clostridium botulinumMicrobiology A gram-positive, spore-forming anaerobe which produces a potent neurotoxin. See Botulism.
Clos·trid·i·um bot·u·li·num(klos-trid'ē-ŭm bot-chū-lī'nŭm)
A bacterial species that occurs widely in nature and is a frequent cause of food poisoning (botulism) from preserved meats, fruits, or vegetables that have not been properly sterilized before canning.
a genus of anaerobic spore-forming bacteria of the family Bacillaceae. Most are gram-positive rods.
Clostridium bifermentans, Clostridium sordelli
see malignant edema.
causes botulism from neurotoxin produced during vegetative growth. C. botulinum types B, C and D are associated with disease in animals but the type prevalence varies geographically. See botulism.
involved in the spoilage of meat.
may be associated with colitis X in horses.
formerly called C. feseri. See blackleg.
cause of ulcerative enteritis and liver necrosis in quail, turkeys, grouse, partridge and chickens. Not an accredited species.
see antibiotic-associated colitis.
now called C. chauvoei (above).
formerly called C. novyi type D. See bacillary hemoglobinuria.
a species found in feces, soil and sometimes wound infections. An important cause of meat spoilage.
a thermophilic spoiler of canned meat producing hydrogen sulfide gas and causing purple staining of the inside of the can. Now called Desulfotomaculum nigrificans.
see bacterial overgrowth.
a proteolytic subgroup of C. botulinum; not a valid species.
causes deep bone taint in hams. See also C. putrificum (below).
a cause of bone taint in cured hams. There is no detectable abnormality on the surface of the ham.
cause of a small proportion of cases of gas gangrene in ruminants. See also abomasitis.
associated with enteritis and enterocolitis in rabbits, guinea pigs and foals.
an apathogenic clostridium often found in lesions of gas gangrene.
a common inhabitant of soil and human and horse intestines, and the cause of tetanus in humans and domestic animals.
found in fight abscesses and pleurisy in cats.
see C. perfringens (above).