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Comparing Botulism to Tetanus to Gangrene

Case of the Month: Comparing Botulism to Tetanus to Gangrene

The genus Clostridium currently contains over 60 species, most associated with severe and potentially fatal disease in humans. All are thick, gram positive rods (i.e. bear a resemblance to spindles = Kloster in Greek) which grow anaerobically. How can the individual species be differentiated in the laboratory?

In the GIDEON Microbiology module, click on the Bacteria tab and scroll down the bacteria list to Clostridium.

Click the boxes to the left of any organisms which you would like to compare:

In this example, I have chosen Clostridium botulinum, Clostidium perfringens and Clostridium tetani – respectively, the agents of botulism, gas gangrene and tetanus.

Now click the  button at the bottom of the list, and the following chart appears:

Additional information at the bottom of the chart describes spore characteristics, hemolysis, etc.:

All charts and tables can be sent by e-mail or transferred to word processor, PowerPoint, etc.

Using this technique, you can prepare charts which compare the phenotypic characteristics of any combination of bacteria, mycobacteria (i.e, Mycobacterium tuberculosis vs. M. avium vs. M. intracellulare) or yeasts (i.e. Candida albicans vs. C. glabrata vs. C. tropicalis vs. C. dubliniensis).

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