Toxic potential of Bacillus cereus isolated from fermented alcoholic beverages

Sun Ae Kim, Hyun Jin Park, Tae Jin Cho, Min Suk Rhee

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8 Scopus citations


Pathogenicity of Bacillus cereus is associated with the production of various toxins. This study investigated the distribution of toxin genes encoding haemolysin BL (hblA, hblC, and hblD), nonhemolytic enterotoxin (nheA, nheB, and nheC), enterotoxin FM (entFM), cytotoxin K (cytK), and cereulide (ces) in 185 B. cereus strains isolated from draft beer, microbrewed beer, pasteurized beer, grape wine, other fruit wine, refined rice wine, traditional Korean pure liquor, and traditional Korean turbid rice wines. A total of 93.0% (172 isolates) of these isolates possessed at least one toxin gene. The nonhemolytic enterotoxin-encoding genes were highly prevalent in the isolates; the detection rate of enterotoxins was 91.4% for nheC, 81.6% for entFM, 62.7% for nheB, 57.3% for nheA, 53.0% for hblC, 48.6% for cytK, 36.8% for hblA, and 36.2% for hblD. Overall, 54.6% and 33.0% of strains carried the integrated Nhe-encoding gene cluster (nheA, nheB, nheC at the same time) and had the Hbl-encoding gene cluster, respectively. The cereulide synthetase gene was detected in only 2.2% of isolates. Toxin gene distribution patterns could be classified into 8 major profile clusters, and the most prevalent profile was the presence of enterotoxin genes only and no emetic toxin genes. Therefore, B. cereus in fermented alcoholic beverages was predominantly of the diarrhoeagenic type. Our results may provide important basic information when considering microbial standards and regulations for B. cereus in related products.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109361
JournalFood Research International
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd


  • Bacillus cereus
  • Cereulide
  • Enterotoxin
  • Fermented alcoholic beverage
  • Toxin gene


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