Biomonitoring of food and environmental matrices is critical for the rapid and sensitive diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases caused by toxins. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has noted that toxins from bacteria, fungi, algae, and plants present an ongoing public health threat, especially since some of these toxins could compromise security of the food supply. Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs), produced by Clostridium spp., are among those bacterial toxins that pose life-threatening danger to humans. BoNTs inhibit the release of acetylcholine at peripheral cholinergic nerve terminals and cause flaccid paralysis. BoNTs are grouped in seven serotypes and many subtypes within these groups. Rapid and accurate identification of these toxins in contaminated food as well as in environmental matrices can help direct treatment. Herein, we discuss current methods to detect BoNTs with a focus on how these technologies have been used to identify toxins in various food and environmental matrices. We also discuss the emergence of new serotypes and subtypes of BoNTs and the increasing number of cases of botulism in wildlife. Finally, we consider how environmental changes impact food safety for humans and present new challenges for detection technology.
Part of the book: Significance, Prevention and Control of Food Related Diseases