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Syst Appl Microbiol. 2001 Jul;24(2):267-76.

Toxic Bacillus pumilus from indoor air, recycled paper pulp, Norway spruce, food poisoning outbreaks and clinical samples.

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


Forty-four B. pumilus isolates of food poisoning, clinical, environmental and industrial origins were investigated for toxin production using the boar spermatozoan motility assay, previously shown to be a sensitive method for detecting non-protein toxins from B. cereus and B. licheniformis. The three toxic isolates originated from live tree, indoor air and recycled paper pulp and were more toxic than the previously described food poisoning isolates of B. licheniformis, whereas the B. pumilus food poisoning and clinical isolates were lower in toxicity. The type strain also produced inhibitory substances. The toxic substances were insensitive to heat (100 degrees C, 20 min), to pH 2 or pH 10 and to digestion with pronase. The substances were readily soluble in methanol and chloroform, but less soluble in toluene. Exposure of boar spermatozoa to 1-10 microg ml(-1) (EC50) of methanol soluble substance from the four strains disrupted the plasma membrane permeability barrier, induced abnormalities in the postacrosomal sheath, collapsed the mitochondrial and suppressed cytoplasmic NAD reduction. No change was observed in human peripheral blood lymphocytes exposed to concentrations of B. pumilus extract that affected spermatozoa. The toxin producing isolates were 99.4 to 99.6% similar in 16SrDNA (500 bp) to the type strain and could not be distinguished from the 41 non-toxic isolates by biochemical properties or whole cell fatty acid composition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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