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Syst Appl Microbiol. 1999 Feb;22(1):133-44.

Evaluation of methods for recognising strains of the Bacillus cereus group with food poisoning potential among industrial and environmental contaminants.

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Department of Applied Chemistry and Microbiology, University of Helsinki, Finland.


Toxin production, biochemical properties and ribotypes of Bacillus cereus group (B. cereus, B. thuringiensis, B. mycoides) strains originating from industrial and environmental sources (n = 64), from food poisoning incidents (n = 22) and from reference sources (n = 7) were analysed. Forty ribotypes were found among the 93 strains. Eleven strains from food poisoning incidents produced emetic (mitochondrio) toxin, as determined by the boar spermatozoa toxicity test. These strains possessed closely similar ribotypes which were rare among strains of other origins. Sperm toxin producing (cereulide positive) strains did not hydrolyse starch and did not produce haemolysin BL, as determined by the reverse passive latex agglutination test. Sixteen different ribotypes were found among B. cereus strains from board machines (n = 16) and from packaging board (n = 16), indicating many different sources of B. cereus contamination in board mills. Strains originating from packaging board had predominantly different ribotypes from those of dairy and dairy product originating strains. Nine (53%) out of 17 strains from a single dairy process shared the same ribotype whereas strains from milk and milk products from different dairies had different ribotypes indicating that B. cereus group populations were dairy specific. Twenty-two percent of strains isolated from the paperboard industry on non-selective medium were lecithinase negative, including enterotoxin producing strains. This stresses the importance of other detection methods not based on a positive lecithinase reaction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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