Clostridium is a genus of Gram-positive bacteria, belonging to the Firmicutes. They are obligate anaerobes capable of producing endospores. Individual cells are rod-shaped, which gives them their name, from the Greek kloster (κλωστήρ) or spindle. These characteristics traditionally defined the genus, however many species originally classified as Clostridium have been reclassified in other genera.
- C. botulinum, an organism that produces botulinum toxin in food/wound and can cause botulism. Honey sometimes contains spores of Clostridium botulinum, which may cause infant botulism in humans one year old and younger. The toxin eventually paralyzes the infant's breathing muscles. Adults and older children can eat honey safely, because Clostridia do not compete well with the other rapidly growing bacteria present in the GI (Gastrointestinal) tract. This same toxin is known as "Botox" and is used cosmetically to paralyze facial muscles to reduce the signs of aging; it also has numerous therapeutic uses.
- C. difficile, which can flourish when other bacteria in the gut are killed during antibiotic therapy, leading to pseudomembranous colitis (also known as antibiotic-associated diarrhea).
- C. perfringens, formerly called C. welchii, causes a wide range of symptoms, from food poisoning to gas gangrene. Also responsible for enterotoxemia (also known as "overeating disease" or "pulpy kidney disease") in sheep and goats. C. perfringens also takes the place of yeast in the making of salt rising bread. The name perfringens means "breaking through, breaking in pieces".
- C. tetani, the causative organism of tetanus.. The name derives from "of a tension", referring to the tension (caused by tetanus) in the muscles.
- C. sordellii has been linked to the deaths of more than a dozen women after childbirth.Fatal Clostridium sordellii infections after medical abortions.Meites E, Zane S, Gould C; N Engl J Med. 2010 Sep 30;363(14):1382-3.
Neurotoxin production is the unifying feature of the species C. botulinum. Seven types of toxins have been identified and allocated a letter (A-G). Most strains produce one type of neurotoxin but strains producing multiple toxins have been described. C. botulinum producing B and F toxin types have been isolated from human botulism cases in New Mexico and California. The toxin type has been designated Bf as the type B toxin was found in excess to the type F. Similarly, strains producing Ab and Af toxins have been reported. Organisms genetically identified as other Clostridium species have caused human botulism; Clostridium butyricum producing type E toxin and Clostridium baratii producing type F toxin. The ability of C. botulinum to naturally transfer neurotoxin genes to other Clostridia is concerning, especially in the food industry where preservation systems are designed to destroy or inhibit only C. botulinum but not other Clostridium species.
C. thermocellum can utilize lignocellulosic waste and generate ethanol, thus making it a possible candidate for use in production of ethanol fuel. It also has no oxygen requirement and is thermophilic, which reduces cooling cost.
C. botulinum produces a potentially lethal neurotoxin that is used in a diluted form in the drug Botox, which is carefully injected to nerves in the face, which prevents the movement of the expressive mucles of the forehead, to delay the wrinkling effect of aging. It is also used to treat spasmodic torticollis and provides relief for approximately 12 to 16 weeks.
The anaerobic bacterium C. ljungdahlii, recently discovered in commercial chicken wastes, can produce ethanol from single-carbon sources including synthesis gas, a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen that can be generated from the partial combustion of either fossil fuels or biomass. Use of these bacteria to produce ethanol from synthesis gas has progressed to the pilot plant stage at the BRI Energy facility in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Genes from C. thermocellum have been inserted into transgenic mice to allow the production of endoglucanase. The experiment was intended to learn more about how the digestive capacity of monogastric animals could be improved. Hall et al. published their findings in 1993.
Non-pathogenic strains of Clostridia may help in the treatment of diseases such as cancer. Research shows that Clostridia can selectively target cancer cells. Some strains can enter and replicate within solid tumours. Clostridia could, therefore, be used to deliver therapeutic proteins to tumours. This use of Clostridia has been demonstrated in a variety of preclinical models.
- ^ Ryan KJ, Ray CG (editors) (2004). Sherris Medical Microbiology (4th ed.). McGraw Hill. ISBN 0-8385-8529-9.
- ^ Bruggemann H, Gottschalk G (editors). (2009). Clostridia: Molecular Biology in the Post-genomic Era. Caister Academic Press. ISBN 978-1-904455-38-7.
- ^ Evaluations and Standards Laboratory (July 14, 2008). "Identification of Clostridium Species". pp. 14. http://www.hpa-standardmethods.org.uk/documents/bsopid/pdf/bsopid8.pdf. Retrieved June 22, 2009.
- ^ Wells CL, Wilkins TD (1996). Clostridia: Sporeforming Anaerobic Bacilli in: Baron's Medical Microbiology (Baron S et al., eds.) (4th ed.). Univ of Texas Medical Branch. ISBN 0-9631172-1-1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/bv.fcgi?rid=mmed.section.1050.
- ^ Wells CL, Wilkins TD (1996). Botulism and Clostridium botulinum in: Baron's Medical Microbiology (Baron S et al., eds.) (4th ed.). Univ of Texas Medical Branch. ISBN 0-9631172-1-1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/bv.fcgi?rid=mmed.section.1108.
- ^ Tanzi MG, Gabay MP (2002). "Association between honey consumption and infant botulism". Pharmacotherapy 22 (11): 1479–83. doi:10.1592/phco.22.16.1479.33696. PMID 12432974.
- ^ Wells CL, Wilkins TD (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. ISBN 0-9631172-1-1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/bv.fcgi?rid=mmed.section.1122.
- ^ Wells CL, Wilkins TD (1996). Other Pathogenic Clostridia Food Poisoning and Clostridium perfringens in: Baron's Medical Microbiology (Baron S et al., eds.) (4th ed.). Univ of Texas Medical Branch. ISBN 0963117211. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/bv.fcgi?rid=mmed.section.1131.
- ^ Wells CL, Wilkins TD (1996). Tetanus and Clostribium tetani in: Baron's Medical Microbiology (Baron S et al., eds.) (4th ed.). Univ of Texas Medical Branch. ISBN 0-9631172-1-1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/bv.fcgi?rid=mmed.section.1099.
- ^ Valli, Eric and Diane Summers (January 1990). "The Nest Gatherers of Tiger Cave" in National Geographic.
- ^ Velickovic M, Benabou R, Brin MF. Cervical dystonia pathophysiology and treatment options. Drugs. 2001;61:1921–1943.
- ^ "Providing for a Sustainable Energy Future". Bioengineering Resources, inc. http://www.brienergy.com/. Retrieved 21 May 2007.
- ^ Mengesha et al. (2009). "Clostridia in Anti-tumor Therapy". Clostridia: Molecular Biology in the Post-genomic Era. Caister Academic Press. ISBN 978-1-904455-38-7.