Definition: a bacterial species that occurs widely in nature and is a frequent cause of food poisoning (botulism) from preserved meats, fruits, or vegetables that have not been properly sterilized before canning. The main types, A–F, are characterized by antigenically distinct, but pharmacologically similar, very potent neurotoxins, each of which can be neutralized only by the specific antitoxin; group C toxin contains at least two components; the recorded cases of human botulism have been due mainly to types A, B, E, and F; infant botulism occurs when colonization of the gastrointestinal tract with Clostridium botulinum results in absorption of the toxin through the gastrointestinal wall; type Ca causes botulism in domestic and wild water fowl; Cß and D are associated with intoxications in cattle. Type E is usually associated with improperly processed fish products.
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