Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Jason Mott (Advisor)

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


As a disease, botulism is a neuroparalytic illness resulting from the action of a potent neurotoxin produced by C. Botulinum. Of the seven distinct C. Botulinum neurotoxin serotypes: A, B, C, D, E, F, and G, only serotypes A, B, E and F cause human disease. The duration of action of the seven toxin serotypes varies with serotype A having the most sustained action (i.e. months vs. days in serotype E). This study was performed due to recently identified critical gaps in our food safety procedures. The goal of this study was to assess whether fresh 2% milk provided protective qualities to Botulinum toxin serotype A (BoNT/A) against degradation in the gastrointestinal tract. If protected this would lead to half the members of the tested population being killed with lower doses compared to toxin delivered in a conventional delivery vehicle (i.e. gel phosphate buffer). The model used for this study was adult male and female specific pathogen free Hartley guinea pigs. The pathophysiologic effects on guinea pigs following oral administration of BoNT/A was determined through daily clinical observations and utilization of telemetry implants allowing examination of changes in the mean, systolic, diastolic and pulse pressures, electrocardiogram (ECG), temperature, activity, respiratory rate, and heart rate. No difference was shown between the two treatment groups of 2% milk and gel phosphate buffer with respect to the time to first clinical sign or time to death. The LD50 of BoNT/A in 2% milk was not significantly different from BoNT/A in gel phosphate buffer indicating that the milk did not provide protective qualities in combination with the toxin.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Year Degree Awarded