Willett, Hilda P. Department of Microbiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina.
Last reviewed:February 2020
Show previous versions
- Histotoxic forms
- Enterotoxigenic forms
- Clostridium tetani
- Clostridium botulinum
- Disease in animals
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A genus of bacteria, including a number of important human pathogens, comprising large anaerobic spore-forming rods that usually stain Gram-positive. Most species of the genus Clostridium are anaerobes, but a few will grow minimally in air at atmospheric pressure. Members of the Clostridium (clostridia) are widely distributed in nature, and they are present in soil and in the intestinal tracts of humans and animals. They usually live a saprophytic existence and play a major role in the degradation of organic material in soil and other natural environments. Various clostridia release potent exotoxins and are pathogenic for humans and animals. Among the human pathogens are the causative agents of botulism (C. botulinum; Fig. 1), tetanus (C. tetani), and gas gangrene (C. perfringens). In addition, Clostridioides difficile (which was formerly assigned to the Clostridium genus and is abbreviated as C. difficile or C. diff) is a closely related bacterial organism that causes an antibiotic-associated enterocolitis. See also: Anaerobic infection; Bacteria; Bacteriology; Medical bacteriology; Pathogen; Public health; Toxin
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 10,000 highly qualified scientists and 46 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information