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.
- The Encyclopedia of Earth article Botulism supplements this entry.