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Research article2012Peer reviewed

Occurrence of toxigenic Clostridium difficile in edible bivalve molluscs

Pasquale, V.; Romano, V.; Rupnik, M; Capuano, F; Bove, D; Aliberti, F; Krovacek, Karel; Dumontet, Stefano


Clostridium difficile is an anaerobic bacterium commonly considered to be responsible for antibiotic-associated gastrointestinal diseases, ranging from diarrhea of varying severity to pseudomembranous colitis. The aim of this study was to assess the occurrence of C. difficile in marine edible bivalve molluscs, which, as filter feeding organisms, are able to accumulate particles suspended in water, including microorganisms. Samples of Mytilus galloprovincialis, Tapes philippinarum, and Venus verrucosa were collected from mussel farms and fishmongers in the province of Naples (Southern Italy). C. difficile was found in 49% of the 53 samples investigated. Sixteen isolates were grouped in 12 known different PCR ribotypes (001, 002, 003, 010, 012, 014/020, 018, 045, 070, 078, 106, and 126), whereas 10 additional isolates were grouped in 8 new PCR riboprofiles. Two toxinotypes (0 and V) were found. Fifty eight percent of the isolates were toxigenic. These findings indicate that toxigenic C. difficile strains can be isolated in bivalve molluscs. Marine filter feeding organisms, therefore, may be considered as reservoir of toxigenic strains of C. difficile. The ingestion of raw or poorly cooked contaminated seafood and the high temperature resistance of the spore-forming C. difficile could represent an important source of exposure and pose human health concern. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Clostridium difficile; Bivalve mollusc; Mytilus galloprovincialis; Tapes philippinarum; Seafood; Mussel

Published in

Food Microbiology
2012, Volume: 31, number: 2, pages: 309-312

    Associated SLU-program

    AMR: Bacteria

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology

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