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Keywords:

  • Bacillus cereus;
  • Enterotoxin;
  • Haemolysin;
  • Food poisoning

Abstract Out of 321 strains of Bacillus cereus from several sources and isolated in four different countries, 239 (74%) produced cytotoxins. Only 127 (53%) of the cytotoxic strains were positive for the B-component gene of the haemolysin BL (enterotoxin) by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Western blots using antiserum produced against enterotoxin(s) gave positive results for 199 (83%) of the cytotoxic B. cereus strains. On closer examination of seven of the strains, involved in food poisoning, we found that two strains completely lacked the L2- and B-components (of the haemolysin BL), and two strains were negative for the B-component gene by PCR, but were positive for the L2-component. From our experiments we concluded that there is at least one enterotoxin complex in addition to the haemolysin BL enterotoxin and enterotoxin T.