Detection limit of Clostridium botulinum spores in dried mushroom samples sourced from China

Pradeep K Malakar, June Plowman, Clare F Aldus, Zengtao Xing, Yong Zhao, Michael W Peck

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A survey of dried mushrooms (Lentinula edodes (Shiitake) and Auricularia auricula (Wood Ear)) sourced from China was carried out to determine the natural contamination of these mushrooms with spores of proteolytic Clostridium botulinum and non-proteolytic C. botulinum. The mushrooms were collected from supermarkets and retailers in 21 cities in China during October 2008. Spore loads of C. botulinum in mushrooms have a degree of uncertainty and variability and this study contributes valuable data for determining prevalence of spores of C. botulinum in mushrooms. An optimized detection protocol that combined selective enrichment culture with multiplex PCR was used to test for spores of proteolytic and non-proteolytic C. botulinum. Detection limits were calculated, using a maximum likelihood protocol, from mushroom samples inoculated with defined numbers of spores of proteolytic C. botulinum or non-proteolytic C. botulinum. Based on the maximum likelihood detection limit, it is estimated that dried mushroom A. auricula contained <550spores/kg of proteolytic C. botulinum, and <350spores/kg of non-proteolytic C. botulinum. Dried L. edodes contained <1500spores/kg of proteolytic C. botulinum and it was not possible to determine reliable detection limits for spores of non-proteolytic C. botulinum using the current detection protocol.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-6
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Food Microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2013


  • Agaricales
  • China
  • Clostridium botulinum
  • Food Microbiology
  • Genes, Fungal
  • Limit of Detection
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Spores
  • Vegetables

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