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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology