General Physiological and Virulence Properties of the Pathogenic Clostridia

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The key features that delineate members of the genus Clostridium are that they are Gram-positive rods that are anaerobic and form heat-resistant endospores. Most members of clostridia genus are commensal or soil bacteria that do not cause disease. This chapter focus on the pathogenic clostridia. It discusses general terms, and distinguishes the metabolism of anaerobic bacteria from that of aerobic and facultative anaerobic bacteria. Clostridial diseases and infections can be divided into three major types: neuro-toxic diseases, histotoxic diseases, and enteric diseases. The major clostridial diseases of humans are botulism, tetanus, gas gangrene, food poisoning, pseudomembranous colitis, and antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Although the pathogenesis of clostridial diseases invariably involves the production of potent protein toxins, it is important to note that, with one exception, they are true infectious diseases. The chapter investigates and understands the numerous roles of virulence determinants other than protein toxins in the pathogenesis of clostridial diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClostridial Diseases in Animals
EditorsFrancisco A. Uzal, J. Glenn Songer, John F. Prescott, Michel R. Popoff
Place of PublicationChichester UK
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781118728291
ISBN (Print)9781118728406
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2016


  • Anaerobic bacteria
  • Clostridial diseases
  • Enteric diseases
  • Histotoxic diseases
  • Neuro-toxic diseases
  • Pathogenic clostridia
  • Protein toxin

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