Botulism is a deadly disease caused by ingestion of the preformed neurotoxin produced from the anaerobic spore-forming bacteria Clostridium botulinum. Botulinum neurotoxins are the most poisonous toxins known and have been a concern in the food industry for a long time. Therefore, rapid identification of botulinum neurotoxin using molecular and biochemical techniques is an essential component in the establishment of coordinated laboratory response systems and is the focus of current research and development. Because of the extreme toxicity of botulinum neurotoxin, some confirmatory testing with the mouse bioassay is still necessary, but rapid methods capable of screening large numbers of samples are also needed. This review is focused on the development of several detection methods for botulinum neurotoxins in foods.

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Author notes

The opinions or assertions contained in this review are the private views of the authors and are not to be construed as official or as reflecting the views of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.