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Botulism is a neuroparalytic disease in humans and animals, resulting from the actions of neurotoxins produced by and rare strains of and . This chapter talks about historical features of and botulism, and biochemistry and pharmacology of botulinal neurotoxins. The hallmark clinical symptoms of botulism are a bilateral and descending weakening and paralysis of skeletal muscles. Currently there is no treatment for botulism except for passive administration of antibodies at early stages in the disease before botulinal neurotoxin has begun internalization into nerves. The major treatment of botulism is supportive nursing care, with specific attention given to respiratory ability and the need for mechanical ventilation. The chapter discusses epidemiology of foodborne botulism. The defining feature of botulinogenic clostridia is that they produce botulinal neurotoxin. Prevention of botulinal neurotoxin formation in foods can be achieved by avoiding contamination of foods by spores; inactivating spores that are present in foods; preventing spores from germination and vegetative cell growth resulting in botulinal neurotoxin formation; and inactivation of botulinal neurotoxins in food. The primary factors that control growth of in foods are temperature, pH and acidity, water activity, redox potential, nutrient sufficiency, the presence of antimicrobials, and competitive microflora. The chapter describes the use of predictive modeling and challenge studies for evaluation of neurotoxin formation, and genomics of . Remarkable advances have been achieved during the past decade in elucidating the biochemistry, structure, and pharmacological mechanisms of botulinum neurotoxins.

Citation: Johnson E. 2007. , p 401-421. In Doyle M, Beuchat L (ed), Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815912.ch18
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Figure 18.1

Portrayal of a person with the flaccid paralysis symptoms characteristic of botulism. Drawing prepared by James K. Archer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga.

Citation: Johnson E. 2007. , p 401-421. In Doyle M, Beuchat L (ed), Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815912.ch18
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Table 18.1

Groupings and relevant growth and resistance properties of botulinogenic clostridia

Citation: Johnson E. 2007. , p 401-421. In Doyle M, Beuchat L (ed), Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815912.ch18
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Table 18.2

Primary physical treatments and antimicrobials used in formulation of botulism-safe foods

Citation: Johnson E. 2007. , p 401-421. In Doyle M, Beuchat L (ed), Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815912.ch18
Generic image for table
Table 18.3

Nutritional substrates metabolized by botulinogenic clostridia

Citation: Johnson E. 2007. , p 401-421. In Doyle M, Beuchat L (ed), Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815912.ch18

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