Bacillus cereus and its food poisoning toxins

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1997 Dec 15;157(2):223-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.1997.tb12776.x.


Bacillus cereus is becoming one of the more important causes of food poisoning in the industrialised world. It produces one emetic toxin and three different enterotoxins. The emetic toxin is a ring-shaped structure of three repeats of four amino and/or oxy acids: [D-O-Leu-D-Ala-L-O-Val-L-Val]3. This ring structure has a molecular mass of 1.2 kDa, and is chemically closely related to the potassium ionophore valinomycin. Two of the three enterotoxins have been shown to be involved in food poisoning. They both consist of three different proteins that act together. One of these enterotoxins is also a haemolysin. This haemolytic enterotoxin is transcribed from one operon. The third enterotoxin is a single component protein, but has not been shown to be involved in food poisoning.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacillus cereus / genetics
  • Bacillus cereus / pathogenicity
  • Bacillus cereus / physiology*
  • Bacterial Proteins / adverse effects*
  • Diarrhea / epidemiology
  • Diarrhea / etiology*
  • Enterotoxins / adverse effects*
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Food Contamination*
  • Food Microbiology*
  • Foodborne Diseases / epidemiology
  • Foodborne Diseases / etiology*
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • North America / epidemiology
  • Operon
  • Virulence
  • Vomiting / epidemiology
  • Vomiting / etiology*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Enterotoxins
  • enterotoxin, Bacillus cereus
  • cereolysin