Clostridium ( C. botulinum and C. perfringens )

Authored by: Mar Rodríguez , Emilio Aranda , María G. Córdoba , María J. Benito , Alicia Rodríguez , Juan J. Córdoba

Manual of Security Sensitive Microbes and Toxins

Print publication date:  April  2014
Online publication date:  April  2014

Print ISBN: 9781466553965
eBook ISBN: 9781466553989
Adobe ISBN:


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Species of Clostridium genus are widely present in the environment (e.g., soil, sewage, and marine sediments) and in the gastrointestinal tract of humans and domestic and feral animals. Although most Clostridium species are saprophytes, 34 species have been considered pathogenic to man and animals. Among the main pathogenic species are C. botulinum and C. perfringens. C. botulinum forms the highly potent botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) that is responsible for botulism, a severe disease with a high fatality rate. There are three major types of botulism in humans: foodborne botulism, infant/intestinal (adult) botulism, and wound botulism. 1 C. botulinum is a group of four physiologically and phylogenetically distinct clostridia that share the common feature of producing neurotoxins. Particularly two members of this group, proteolytic type A, B, and F and nonproteolytic C. botulinum type B, E, and F, cause botulism food poisoning. 2 The foodborne botulism is an intoxication caused by the consumption of preformed toxin, while infant/intestinal (adult) botulism and wound botulism are infections involving toxin formation in situ. 1 C. perfringens is considered to be one of the common microorganisms that causes human and veterinary diseases. 3 In addition, C. perfringens produces around 15 different toxins.

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