Effect of Nisin against Clostridium botulinum During Spore-to-Cell Transformation

  • Chung, Yoon-Kyung ;
  • Yousef, Ahmed E.
  • Published : 2007.12.31


It has been proposed that the mode of action of nisin against vegetative cells and spores of Clostridium botulinum is different. However, clear explanation is not available. Therefore, nisin action against vegetative cells and spores of C. botulinum was investigated in this study. Nisin was added at various stages of spore-to-vegetative cell transition and changes to sensitivity to the bacteriocin were observed. Different nisin preparation (Nisaplin or pure nisin) was compared for their activity against different stages of spore transformation of C. botulinum ATCC 25763. Germination was measured by determining loss of heat resistance and observing phase darkening of spores under phase-contrast microscope. Nisin acted bactericidally against vegetative cells, but acted sporostatically against spores of C. botulinum under the same concentration. This bactericidal and sporostatic action of nisin was dependent on the concentration of nisin used. Presence of nisin during spore activation by heat increased subsequent phase darkening and germination rates. However, nisin inhibited the germination and the outgrowth, when it was added after heat activation stage. Findings from this study suggest that the time of addition of nisin is very important for the effective control of spores during the heating process of foods. In addition, it may be possible to apply nisin at the stage of processing that coincides with the most sensitive stage of spore transformation.


Clostridium botulinum;nisin;spore transformation


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