New Latin, genus name, from Greek klōstēr spindle, from klōthein to spin
First Known Use: 1884
Medical Definition of CLOSTRIDIUM
capitalized: a genus of saprophytic rod-shaped or spindle-shaped usually gram-positive bacteria of the family Bacillaceae that are anaerobic or require very little free oxygen and are nearly cosmopolitan in soil, water, sewage, and animal and human intestines, that are very active biochemically comprising numerous fermenters of carbohydrates with vigorous production of acid and gas, many nitrogen-fixers, and others which rapidly putrefy proteins, and that include important pathogens—see blackleg, botulism, gas gangrene, tetanus bacillus
pluralclos·trid·ia\-ē-ə\a: any bacterium of the genus Clostridiumb: a spindle-shaped or ovoid bacterial cell; especially: one swollen at the center by an endospore
Any of the rod-shaped, usually gram-positive bacteria (seegram 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.