Staphylococcal food poisoning is strictly an intoxication which is caused by a water-soluble protein called enterotoxin that is secreted by staphylococcal cells, i.e. an exotoxin. After a general discussion of the properties of the enterotoxins, methods and media employed for producing high toxin yields are detailed. Mechanisms whereby these toxins are secreted differ in that enterotoxin A behaves as a primary metabolite and enterotoxin B acts as a secondary metabolite. Several studies on and explanations of the synthesis of enterotoxins are presented. Assay methods for these toxins that are discussed include bioassay techniques and serological procedures. Finally, some general aspects of the epidemiology of staphylococcal intoxications are described.

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Author notes

1Supported by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison and by Public Health Service Grant No. FD00009-05 from the Food and Drug Administration.

2Part I appeared in a previous issue of this Journal.

3Parts III and IV will appear in subsequent issues of this Journal.

4References cited in all parts will be listed at the end of part IV.