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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.
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.