I don’t quite understand the concept of botulism. I’ve googled it but anytime someone mentions it I’m confused all over again. My best understanding is that it’s food poisoning but I feel like it’s more complex than that


Does botulism refer to the bacteria or to the food ?

In: 10

6 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Botulism refers to the condition (a specific type of food poisoning) you get as a result of ingesting botulinum toxin. Botulinum toxin is produced by the botulinum bacteria which is really hard to kill. As a result of this it can be present in improperly preserved canned or jarred food.

Anonymous 0 Comments

it refers to the food poisoning itself.

The bacteria that causes botulism is anaerobic and is poisoned by oxygen. So it tends to show up in compromised canned food which has very little oxygen inside, but not on spoiled food that is exposed to air. like most other microbes that cause food poisoning, the bacteria here creates a nasty toxin that remains in the food even after you’ve prepared it or the bacteria die off, and this toxin causes botulism.

With infant children, they are even more at risk, because if they ingest the spores of this bacteria, unlike older children and adults their bodies can’t get rid of the spores before teyt become active and start producing the toxin, poisoning them from the inside out. this is why its not advised to give honey to very young children as honey can contain the bacterial spores.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Botulism is an illness caused by a particular toxin (botulinum) secreted by a specific bacteria (*Clostridium botulinum,* usually).

The bacteria itself is harmless, but the toxin is extremely harmful. Because it’s the toxin that harms you, not the bacteria, and the toxin normally ends up in your system usually because you ate food that contained it, botulism is considered a type of food poisoning. (It’s possibly to get botulism other ways, but it’s far rarer).

The toxins affect your nervous system, which is why botulism is more dangerous than other types of food poisoning. As the toxins progress through your system, the muscles in your body become weak and stop working properly – it tends to start with things like your face drooping because your facial muscles stop working. If it gets bad enough, it can start interfering with the muscles you need to breathe, which is extremely dangerous for obvious reasons.

Anonymous 0 Comments

To add on to what others are saying, the toxin botulinum produces, botox, is among the most toxic substances on earth. A millionth of a gram will kill an adult several times over. Which is why even if you kill the botulinum, you still need to worry about the botox.

This toxin is also used in anti-wrinkle treatment and a few other medical procedures, but the dosage is very low and it very rarely is dangerous.

Anonymous 0 Comments

There’s a bacteria called clostridium botulinum.

It can grow on badly-preserved food, and it pisses poison.

This poison is ridiculously powerful, and the tiniest amount can kill a person. The condition of being poisoned with the stuff is called botulism.

Even if you cook the food at high temperature and kill the bacteria, the poison is still there.

Colloquially people might refer to the bacteria itself as ‘botulism’ (eg “there was a batch of canned chicken that had botulism in it”), but that’s not formally correct.

The poison works by paralyzing muscles – it will stop your heart, stop you breathing, etc.

In teeny-tiny microdoses, it’s used in the cosmetic-surgery industry to paralyse facial muscles responsible for frown lines, etc – that’s ‘botox’, short for ‘botulinum toxin’.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It is more complex. Most if it has been covered by others, but one thing I’m seeing be missed here matters, too.

Botulinum produces an ENDOTOXIN. Endotexic bacteria store their waste (toxins) inside their cell walls (they are gram neg and anaerobic) so they don’t really release the toxin until they die and fall apart.

Salmonella, for instance is exo-toxic, and churns out toxins the whole time they are alive. You can smell and taste the food spoiling with most bacteria that are.

Consider how fast bacteria reproduce, doubling and doubling again.

So, we have Botulinum contaminated food (easy to do because it sporulates), the bacteria are quickly reproducing, but haven’t started dying off yet. Tgr food looks fine, smells fine, etc… so we cook it up, can it, bottle it etc…KILLNG AND DESTROYING THE BACTERIA, with heat, BUT RELEASING THE TOXIN! One of the worst toxins known, BTW, a toxin that will kill a huge organism with the TINIEST dose. Open the can, smells fine, looks fine, tastes fine, but paralyzes your diaphragm and ticker-timer. God help a small child.

So it’s kind of a special, insidious type of extremely deadly food poisoning.