Clostridium botulinum and Clostridium perfringens

Clostridium species cause a variety of diseases including food poisoning, neurological disorders, gas gangrene, and food spoilage (Table 8.1). In general, these organisms produce several exotoxins and enzymes, which contribute to the local tissue damage and the pathogenesis. Clostridium botulinum is the most important pathogen of this genus and it produces a potent heat-labile botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT). The toxin is responsible for the disease, botulism, which occurs in humans and animals and is considered an agent for bioterrorism. Professor Emile Van Ermengem first isolated Clostridium botulinum in 1895 in Belgium from raw ham that was consumed by several people, at a music festival who developed botulism. When injected into laboratory animals, the culture supernatant produced disease confirming the involvement of a deadly neurotoxin. Clostridium perfringens is another significant organism of concern, responsible for foodborne toxicoinfection and enteritis in animals.


Botulinum Toxin Nerve Impulse Clostridium Perfringens Botulinum Neurotoxin Flaccid Paralysis 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

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