|SEM micrograph of Clostridium difficile colonies from a stool sample.|
Clostridium is a genus of Gram-positive bacteria, belonging to the Firmicutes. They are obligate anaerobes, and can produce endospores. Individual cells are rod-shaped, which gives them their name, from the Greek kloster (κλωστήρ) or spindle.
Important species[change | change source]
- C. botulinum produces botulinum toxin in food and wounds. It can cause botulism. Honey sometimes contains spores of Clostridium botulinum, which may cause infant botulism in babies under one year old. The toxin eventually paralyzes the infant's breathing muscles.
Adults and older children can eat honey safely, because Clostridium does not compete well with the other rapidly growing bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. This same toxin is known as "Botox" and is used cosmetic surgery to paralyze facial muscles. This reduces the signs of ageing. Botox also has some therapeutic uses.
- C. difficile flourishes when other bacteria in the gut are killed during antibiotic therapy, leading to pseudomembranous colitis (a cause of antibiotic-associated diarrhea).
- C. tetani causes tetanus. The name derives from the Greek word τέτανος (tetanos) "muscular spasm", due to the violent spasms caused by C. tetani infection.
References[change | change source]
- They cannot tolerate oxygen.
- Ryan K.J. & Ray C.G. (eds) 2004. Sherris medical microbiology (4th ed.). McGraw Hill. .
- Bruggemann H. & Gottschalk G. (eds) 2009. Clostridia: molecular biology in the post-genomic era. Caister Academic Press. .
- Wells C.L. & Wilkins T.D. 1996. Botulism and Clostridium botulinum. In: Baron's Medical Microbiology (Baron S. et al eds) (4th ed.). Univ of Texas Medical Branch. . http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/bv.fcgi?rid=mmed.section.1108.
- Tanzi M.G. & Gabay M.P. 2002.. "Association between honey consumption and infant botulism". Pharmacotherapy 22 (11): 1479–83. . .
- Wells C.L. & Wilkins T.D. 1996.. Antibiotic-associated diarrhea, pseudomembranous colitis, and Clostridium difficile. In: Baron's medical microbiology (Baron S et al eds) (4th ed.). Univ of Texas Medical Branch. . http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/bv.fcgi?rid=mmed.section.1122.
- Wells C.L. & Wilkins T.D. 1996. Tetanus and Clostribium tetani. In: Baron's Medical Microbiology (Baron S. et al eds) (4th ed.). Univ of Texas Medical Branch. . http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/bv.fcgi?rid=mmed.section.1099.
- "A/67/L.28-A/RES/67/19 of 26 November 2012". http://unispal.un.org/unispal.nsf/0080ef30efce525585256c38006eacae/181c72112f4d0e0685257ac500515c6c?OpenDocument. Retrieved 2012-12-01.