Introduction: The aim of this study was examination of honey samples collected from apiaries situated in all Polish provinces for occurrence of Clostridium spp., especially C. perfringens.
Material and Methods: The study was carried out on 240 honey samples (15 samples/province). Estimation of Clostridium titre, its cultures and C. perfringens isolate characterisation were performed according to the standard PN-R-64791:1994. A multiplex PCR method for detection of genes coding cpa (α toxin), cpb (β), cpb2 (β2), etx (ε), iap (ι), and cpe (enterotoxin) toxins was used.
Results:Clostridium spp. was noticed in 56% (136/240) of samples, and its titres ranged between 0.1 g and 0.001 g. Clostridium perfringens occurrence was evidenced in 27.5% (66/240) of samples. All isolates were classified to toxinotype A.
Conclusions: Evidence of a high number of positive samples with occurrence of Clostridium spp. indicates a potential risk to consumers’ health. The infective number of Clostridium spp. is unknown; however, the obtained results have shown that a risk assessment on the entire honey harvesting process should be made in order to ensure microbiological safety. Moreover, a detailed study should be undertaken on the antibiotic resistance of C. perfringens isolates from honey samples.
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