Location: Foodborne Contaminants Research
Title: Botulinum Neurotoxin Research at the Western Regional Research Center Authors
Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 9, 2009
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are some of the most potent toxins to humans. The most common route of intoxication is through ingestion of contaminated food or drink. In addition, these toxins are likely targets for use in intentional adulteration of food or animal feeds and are thus classified as Select Agents. BoNT serotypes A, B and E cause most of the foodborne intoxications. However, little is known about the effects of food on the bioavailability and stability of these toxins. At the WRRC, studies using mouse systemic and oral models of botulism revealed that several factors, such as the presence of associated complex proteins, the size of the toxin complex, or the type of food matrix, can either positively or negatively impact the toxicity and oral bioavailability of BoNTs. High affinity monoclonal antibodies are currently also being developed and used in vitro assay technologies for the detection of BoNTs. A deeper understanding of the biology of toxins in an animal and the factors that affect their toxicity, coupled with the development of more sensitive detection or diagnostic tests, would be invaluable in advancing food safety and protection.