Clostridium botulinum


caption Clostridium botulinum. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have characterized Clostridium botulinum as the name of a group of bacteria commonly found in soil. These rod-shaped organisms grow best in low oxygen conditions.

The bacteria form spores which allow them to survive in a dormant state until exposed to conditions that can support their growth. There are seven types of botulism toxin designated by the letters A through G; only types A, B, E and F cause illness in humans. Clostridium botulinum is the bacterium that produces the nerve toxin that causes botulism.

Further Reading

  • The Encyclopedia of Earth article Botulism supplements this entry.


(2008). Clostridium botulinum. Retrieved from


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