Any of the rod-shaped, usually gram-positive bacteria (see gram stain) that make up the genus Clostridium. They are found in soil, water, and the intestinal tracts of humans and other animals. Some species grow only in the complete absence of oxygen. Dormant cells are highly resistant to heat, drying, toxic chemicals, and detergents. The toxins produced by C. botulinum, which causes botulism, are the strongest poisons known. The toxin of C. tetani causes tetanus; other species can cause gangrene.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on clostridium, visit Britannica.com.
Seen & Heard
What made you look up clostridium? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.