Emetic Bacillus cereus strains produce a potent cereulide cytotoxin, which can cause acute and fatal cases of food poisoning. We isolated 18 emetic B. cereus strains from a food poisoning event, and from clinical and non-random food surveillance in China and phenotypic characteristics of haemolysis, starch hydrolysis, salicin fermentation, gelatin liquefaction, cytotoxicity, and susceptibility to antibiotics were assessed. All isolates were positive for haemolysis and gelatin liquefaction, and negative for starch hydrolysis and salicin fermentation. Their haemolytic potentials were intermediate to Bacillus anthracis and B. cereus ATCC 14579 (a non-emetic strain). All isolates were cytotoxic to CHO, Hep-2, and Vero cells, and were sensitive to ampicillin. The homogeneous phenotypes of emetic isolates from China are similar to the corresponding traits of European and Japanese isolates that have been characterized, suggesting highly similar phenotypes of emetic B. cereus worldwide.
- Bacillus cereus
- starch hydrolysis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology