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J Clin Microbiol. Jun 1991; 29(6): 1114–1124.
PMCID: PMC269954

Identification of Clostridium botulinum, Clostridium argentinense, and related organisms by cellular fatty acid analysis.


On the basis of 686 analyses of 285 strains of Clostridium botulinum, Clostridium argentinense (formerly C. botulinum type G), and phenotypically related organisms, 14 cellular fatty acid (CFA) groups of toxic organisms and 6 CFA groups of nontoxic organisms were delineated. The CFA groups of toxic strains included two of type A, three of proteolytic strains of type B, two of proteolytic strains of type F, one each of nonproteolytic strains of types B, E, and F, and one each of types C alpha, C beta, and D and C. argentinense. The groups of phenotypically similar nontoxic strains included Clostridium sporogenes, Clostridium putrificum, nontoxic strains with phenotypic characteristics similar to those of nonproteolytic strains of C. botulinum types B, E, and F (BEF-like), two groups of nontoxigenic organisms with phenotypic characteristics similar to those of C. botulinum types C and D and Clostridium novyi (CDN-like), and Clostridium subterminale, which has phenotypic characteristics similar to those of C. argentinense. Within the toxin types, 89 to 100% of the strains were correctly identified by CFA analysis, and 74 to 100% of the analyses were correct. Of 36 strains of C. sporogenes, 30 (83%) were correctly identified; 17% of the strains of C. sporogenes were incorrectly identified as C. botulinum type A or B. All analyses of C. putrificum and C. subterminale were correctly identified. There was no significant level of similarity between strains of C. botulinum and phenotypically similar organisms and 85 other species of clostridia or 407 other taxa of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Additionally, the one strain each of Clostridium baratii and Clostridium butyricum previously reported to produce C. botulinum toxin could be differentiated from C.botulinum types as well as from strains of C. baratii and C. butyricum that did not produce neurotoxin.

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Selected References

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