This study was undertaken to examine phenotypic and genetic features of strains preliminary classified as Clostridium botulinum species. The phenotypic characteristics were assessed with different culture media and biochemical tests. The genetic characterization included detection of botulinum toxin genes by PCR and macrorestriction analysis with SmaI, XhoI and SacII by PFGE (Pulsed-field Gel Electrophoresis). Despite similar biochemical properties of all analysed strains, only 47% of them contained genes determining toxicity specific to C. botulinum species. The most valuable differentiation of C. botulinum and C. botulinum-like strains was obtained after SmaI digestion. The highest affinity was observed among C. botulinum type B profiles which was even up to 100%. It was found 100% of affinity between C. botulinum and C. botulinum-like strains, however, the similarity among C. botulinum and C. botulinum-like was generally lower than 80%.
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