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J Med Microbiol. 2011 Sep;60(Pt 9):1299-305. doi: 10.1099/jmm.0.031179-0. Epub 2011 May 12.

Confirmation of botulism in birds and cattle by the mouse bioassay and Endopep-MS.

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  • 1National Veterinary Institute (SVA), Department of Chemistry, Environment and Feed Hygiene, SE-751 89 Uppsala, Sweden.


There have been several outbreaks of botulism among poultry and wild birds in Sweden in recent years. The National Veterinary Institute of Sweden (SVA) has identified botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT)/C1 or the mosaic BoNT/C1D using the mouse bioassay. This is believed to be the first report on the application of the Endopep mass spectrometry (Endopep-MS) method to selected clinical animal (serum and liver) samples and a feed sample that had previously given positive test results with the mouse bioassay. In the mouse bioassay eight of the eleven samples were found to be neutralized by both BoNT/C1 and /D antitoxins; the other three were neutralized only by BoNT/C1 antitoxin, but the mice showed a prolonged survival time when the samples had been treated with /D antitoxin. The Endopep-MS analysis, on the other hand, demonstrated only BoNT/C1 activity for all eleven samples. This suggests that at least eight of the samples were of the chimeric toxin type BoNT/C1D, where the enzymically active site is identical to that of BoNT/C1, while other parts of the protein contain sequences of BoNT/D. This is the first step of a cross-validation between the established mouse bioassay and the Endopep-MS of serotypes BoNT/C1 and /C1D. Endopep-MS is concluded to have potential as an attractive alternative to the mouse bioassay.

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