Quantitative Effects of Carbohydrates and Aromatic Amino Acids on Clostridium botulinum Toxin Gene Expression Using a Rapid Competitive RT/PCR AssaySharkey F.H.a · Dooley J.S.b · Haylock R.W.b
aMRC, Human Genetics Unit, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, Scotland, and bSchool of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster, Coleraine, County Derry, Northern Ireland
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A rapid competitive RT/PCR assay was developed to determine the effects of nutrients on Clostridium botulinum type E toxin gene expression. The type E strain (EVH) was grown in a nutrient-rich broth containing 1% glucose (base medium). Toxin gene expression was quantified at both mid and late exponential phases of growth. It was found that toxin encoding mRNA levels were highly growth phase dependent with elevated levels found in late exponential phase compared to mid exponential phase. Changing the carbohydrate source had a smaller effect on toxin encoding mRNA levels but as earlier results have suggested, toxin encoding mRNA levels show a strong correlation with type E growth rate. The results have important implications for the food industry whereby risk of type E botulism could be correlated to the nutrient composition of the contaminated food or assessed from C. botulinum growth rates in challenged foodstuffs.
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