• Bacillus cereus;
  • Bacillus thuringiensis;
  • Enterotoxin;
  • Food poisoning


Seventy-four strains of Bacillus thuringiensis representing 24 serovars were examined for the presence of three enterotoxin genes/operons; the non-haemolytic enterotoxin Nhe, the haemolytic enterotoxin hbl and the Bacillus cereus toxin bceT using polymerase chain reaction. The nheBC genes were found in all strains examined, the hblCD genes in 65 of the 74 strains and bceT in 63 strains. There was little consistency of the distribution of enterotoxin loci among strains of the same serovar in serovars that were well represented in our collection. Culture supernatants from all but one strain inhibited protein synthesis in Vero cells, generally with a toxicity equivalent to that seen in strains of B. cereus isolated from incidents of food poisoning.