Introduction

Clostridium botulinum is a bacterium that is widely spread in the environment and in raw foods. C. botulinum strains produce lethal neurotoxins during their logarithmic growth. The toxin, when ingested or formed in vivo in humans and animals, causes botulism, a neuroparalytic disease that may lead to death unless treated. The diagnosis of botulism is based on the detection of neurotoxin and C. botulinum organisms in a patient. Conventional diagnostic methods for the detection of C. botulinum and its toxins are poorly developed. However, the use of molecular tools such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods has greatly facilitated the diagnosis of C. botulinum during the last decade.

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