Nitrite inhibition of Clostridium botulinum: electron spin resonance detection of iron-nitric oxide complexes

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Science  19 Aug 1983:
Vol. 221, Issue 4612, pp. 769-770
DOI: 10.1126/science.6308761


Vegetative cells of Clostridium botulinum were shown to contain iron-sulfur proteins that react with added nitrite to form iron-nitric oxide complexes, with resultant destruction of the iron-sulfur cluster. Inactivation of iron-sulfur enzymes (especially ferredoxin) by binding of nitric oxide would almost certainly inhibit growth, and thus is probably the mechanism of botulinal inhibition by nitrite in foods.