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J Hyg (Lond). 1980 Oct;85(2):271-4.

Clostridium botulinum in British soil.


Soil samples from various parts of Britain were examined for Clostridium botulinum by a sensitive technique comparable with that recently used for mud samples from British aquatic environments. The results showed beyond doubt that in Britain the prevalence of the organism in soil is much lower than in mud. Of 174 samples from all sites examined only 10 (5 . 7%) could be shown to contain Cl. botulinum; this finding was consistent with the results of surveys made by less sensitive techniques in 1922, 1928 and 1942. No type other than B was found. The evidence suggested that in certain localized areas the prevalence was likely to be high. Three sites associated for many years with animals were included in the survey; at the Zoological Society's premises at Regent's Park and Whipsnade, and at the Market paddocks, Gorgie, Edinburgh, the prevalence of Cl. botulinum was either very low, or nil. In an earlier survey of the redeveloped site of the former Metropolitan Cattle Market, London, 25% of soil samples gave a positive result and no less than four types (B, C, D. and E) were demonstrated.

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