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A Microbial Biorealm page on the genus


Higher order taxa

Bacteria; Firmicutes; Clostridia; Clostridiates; Clostridiaceae;Clostridium


NCBI: Taxonomy

Clostridium tetani

Description and significance

C. tetani is bacillus, or rod-shaped bacterium. The bacteria is gram positive and commonly takes the shape of a drumstick when Gram stained. This drumstick appearance is due to the spore formation that occurs. C. tetani is known for causing tetanus. Spores of the bacterium enter the body through open wounds and germinate once inside. C. tetani move around by the use of rotary flagella. The organization of these flagella is peritrichous, which is flagella randomly assorted around the cell.

Genome structure

The genome of C. tetani consists of one chromsome of 2776 genes. All but one of these genes are protein-coding genes, which is 99.96%. There are 2.7 mega base pairs in the genome.

Cell structure and metabolism

Interesting features of cell structure; how it gains energy; what important molecules it produces.


The C. tetani are found mostly in the soil, but can also be found in the intestines or feces of many animals, such as horse, sheep, and dogs. Soil that is treated by manure tend to contain a large number of its spores. Spores are resistant to heat and some antiseptics, but oxygen rich areas are toxic to them. When in soil, they can last for months or even years in the proper conditions.


C. tetani effects humans by the disease called tetanus. The spores enter the body through a wound. The wound can be as small as a splinter or deep and large. This variation does not affect its ability to infect the body. In the presence of anaerobic conditions, the spores germinate. Anaerobic conditions are any period when the body is lacking in oxygen. This is when the spores produce toxins that are harmful to humans nervous system. The toxins travel through the body via the nervous system, where there goal is to reach the spinal cord. Here is where the toxins really start to attack the body. The toxins interfere with the neurotransmitters when they block messages to the brain. This leads to unwanted muscle contraction and spams, and in bad cases, individuals can get seizures.

Current Research

Enter summaries of the most recent research here--at least three required

Cool Factor

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[Sample reference] Takai, K., Sugai, A., Itoh, T., and Horikoshi, K. "Palaeococcus ferrophilus gen. nov., sp. nov., a barophilic, hyperthermophilic archaeon from a deep-sea hydrothermal vent chimney". International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. 2000. Volume 50. p. 489-500.

Edited by student of Iris Keren