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Botulism is a neuromuscular paralytic disease in humans and animals resulting from the actions of botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs), which are produced by and rare strains of and . BoNTs are the most poisonous toxins known for humans and vertebrate animals and are almost unique among foodborne toxins in being highly toxic by the oral route. . produces endospores that are resistant to many food processing conditions and to antimicrobials in foods. Under permissive conditions, . can grow and form BoNT, which on consumption causes botulism. produces seven serotypes of BoNTs (A, B, C1, D, E, F, and G), which are distinguished by neutralization of toxicity in mice using homologous antisera prepared against the purified toxins. In the United States, and BoNTs are categorized as tier 1 select agents, the most dangerous group of biological agents, and high-security laboratory facilities and rigorously trained personnel are required to experiment with and quantities (>1 mg) of BoNTs that qualify it as a select agent. Outbreaks of botulism are considered a public health emergency and lead to rapid regulatory and industry responses.

Citation: Johnson E. 2019. , p 487-512. In Doyle M, Diez-Gonzalez F, Hill C (ed), Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers, 5th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819972.ch18
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Figure 18.1

Characteristic morphology of with an endospore.

Citation: Johnson E. 2019. , p 487-512. In Doyle M, Diez-Gonzalez F, Hill C (ed), Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers, 5th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819972.ch18
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Image of Figure 18.2
Figure 18.2

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. 2019. , p 487-512. In Doyle M, Diez-Gonzalez F, Hill C (ed), Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers, 5th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819972.ch18
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