Variance of Toxin Producing Clostridium botulinum in Utah Honey

Tamara Fox, Laura Tucker


Clostridium botulinum has been implicated in cases of infant botulism across the United States. It is recommended that infants under the age of one year not be fed honey because of the presence of C. botulinum spores. This study had two aims: to determine whether these spores can be detected through a multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) without first culturing the organism and to determine whether honey produced in small and large apiaries in Utah contain varying amounts of toxin producing C. botulinum. Clostridium perfringens was used as a control organism in the proof of concept experiments. C. perfringens were isolated from the control honey sample, lysed through superheating, DNA was extracted, multiplex PCR and gel electrophoresis were performed proving that detection without culturing is possible. A multiplex PCR using primers specific for Clostridia species, and toxins A, B, E, and F was performed on honey samples that were collected from hives maintained in Utah. No DNA was detected in the honey samples.



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