Factors contributing to heat resistance of Clostridium perfringens endospores

Benjamin Orsburn, Stephen B. Melville, David L. Popham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


The endospores formed by strains of type A Clostridium perfringens that produce the C. perfringens enterotoxin (CPE) are known to be more resistant to heat and cold than strains that do not produce this toxin. The high heat resistance of these spores allows them to survive the cooking process, leading to a large number of food-poisoning cases each year. The relative importance of factors contributing to the establishment of heat resistance in this species is currently unknown. The present study examines the spores formed by both CPE + and CPE- strains for factors known to affect heat resistance in other species. We have found that the concentrations of DPA and metal ions, the size of the spore core, and the protoplast-to-sporoplast ratio are determining factors affecting heat resistance in these strains. While the overall thickness of the spore peptidoglycan was found to be consistent in all strains, the relative amounts of cortex and germ cell wall peptidoglycan also appear to play a role in the heat resistance of these strains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3328-3335
Number of pages8
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Ecology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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