The minimum and maximum growth temperatures and the maximum growth rates at 10, 30, 37, and 40°C were determined for 24 group II Clostridium botulinum strains. Genetic diversity of the strains was revealed by amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis. The minimum growth temperatures ranged from 6.2 to 8.6°C, and the maximum growth temperatures ranged from 34.7 to 39.9°C. The mean maximum growth temperatures and mean maximum growth rates of type E strains at 37°C were significantly higher than those of type B and type F strains. A significant correlation between maximum growth rates at 37°C and maximum growth temperatures was found for all strains. Some type E strains with a high minimum growth temperature also had a higher maximum growth rate at 37°C than at 30°C, which suggests that some group II C. botulinum strains are more mesophilic in their growth properties than others. We found relatively small differences between AFLP clusters, indicating that diverse genetic background among the strains was not reflected in the growth properties. The growth characteristics of group II C. botulinum and some type E strains with mesophilic growth properties may have an impacton inoculation studies and predictive modeling for assessing the safety of foods.

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