Clostridium botulinum - Test offered by IVAMI and samples required in general


  • Botulinum toxin detection in human cases or outbreaks of foodborne botulism:
    • Patient serum (5 mL at least) most recently obtained for inoculation into mice and toxin typing, if mice were affected.
    • In cases of infant botulism or intestinal botulism, the botulinum toxin can be detected  in the feces of children / patients, but we recommend more advisable to perform a preliminary culture of faeces.  
  • Detection of toxin and / or Clostridium botulinum in foods ingested, suspected of causing botulism, or food subject to control
    • Sample of the suspect or checked food (at least about 100 grams recommended) to prepare a sample intended for mice inoculation and detecting the presence of the preformed toxin in food, as well as for performing a culture to obtain the filtrate to inoculate mice and determine if there was a toxin-producing bacteria in the sample; If you only have remains of food, it is recommended to send the full amount available.
  • Detection of Clostridium botulinum in cases of infant botulism or intestinal botulism
    • Feces in cases of infant botulism or intestinal botulism due to intestinal colonization (10 g), for culture and toxin detection in culture filtrate by mice inoculation.
  • Detection of Clostridium botulinum in cases of wound botulism
    • Wound exudate in cases of suspected wound botulism, for culture and toxin detection in culture filtrate by mice inoculation. If the sample is transported aerobically, Clostridium botulinum may have been inactivated, it wolud be more convenient to perform a molecular test for the presence of Clostridium botulinum genes and if positive, identify the type of botulinum toxin by detecting genes corresponding each type of toxin.
  • Detection of Clostridium botulinum in samples of fresh water sludge or aquatic  marine sediments, and other products not included in the previous sections
    • 100 g samples approximately for performing a culture for Clostridium botulinum growth and obtaining a culture filtrate for inoculating mice.  
  • Detection of anti-botulinum toxin antibodies in serum or plasma
    • Serum or plasma (about 10 mL), to test for neutralization antibodies in serum or plasma against different toxins available in the laboratory. This test is of interest to determine the presence of specific antibodies in people treated with botulinum toxin, in patients with suspected infant botulism, in adults who has not been able to find the bacteria in stool, or in vaccinated individuals to check the status of protection. In cases of people treated with botulinum toxin It must indicate the type of toxin administered to the patient.

Time for results:

  • We can not give exact times. If only detection of toxin by mice inoculation and result negative, the report would be a maximum of one week. If cultivation of the sample, and then detecting the toxin made by inoculating a culture filtrate to mice, the time would be two weeks. If any of these tests, mouse inoculation, culture foods or feces, obtaining  a culture filtrate, were positive and neutralization test should be performed in mice to corroborate that it correspond to botulinum toxin and identify its type by neutralization test, the completion time is 15 days.
  • Reak Time PCR tests:  3 or 4 days.

Submission form with product characteristics and test/s chosen

  • If applying for performing conducting tests, must send us a letter/submission form in which product characteristics and the chosen tests to be performed. 

Sample volume

  • See in each case previously, depending on the type of tests offered by IVAMI.

Storage conditions and shipping of samples

  • They are retained and sent on the conditions under which the sample is usually found, protected for transport. In the case of samples that can decompose because contaminated with bacteria, or by its own organic characteristics (perishables, sera from animal or human, feces, sludge, ... ..), the samples must be stored and shipped frozen, or at least under the conditions that ensure cooling during transport (with the sample container inside a box -expanded polystyrene- (white cork) with frozen packs. Note: this organism does not pose a risk of contamination by biological exposure.