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J Clin Microbiol. Mar 1995; 33(3): 636–640.
PMCID: PMC228005

Bacillus cereus phage typing as an epidemiological tool in outbreaks of food poisoning.


Bacillus cereus is responsible for an increasing number of food poisoning cases. By using 12 bacteriophages isolated from sewage, a typing scheme for B. cereus isolates from outbreaks or sporadic cases of food poisoning was developed. The phages belonged to three morphotypes. Ten phages with contractile tails and icosahedral heads were members of the Myoviridae family, and two phages with noncontractile tails belonged to the Siphoviridae family. Phage 11 represented a new species. It had an isometric head and a very long contractile tail with long wavy tail fibers and was one of the largest viruses known. The vast majority of 166 B. cereus strains (161, or 97%) isolated from food poisoning cases were typeable. Of 146 strains isolated from 18 outbreaks, 142 (97%) could be divided into 17 phage types. A good correlation, on the order of 80 to 100%, between phage types of strains isolated from suspected foods and those of strains isolated from stools of symptomatic patients was observed. Most Bacillus thuringiensis strains were also typeable, providing further evidence of the close relatedness of B. cereus and B. thuringiensis. This phage typing scheme can be a valuable epidemiological tool in tracing the origins of food poisoning caused by B. cereus.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
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