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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


Clostridium tertium Bacteremia in a Patient with Glyphosate Ingestion

Unknown ethiology, Management of emergency care, Unexpected drug reaction , Educational Purpose (only if useful for a systematic review or synthesis)

Myung-Jo You, Gee-Wook Shin, Chang-Seop Lee

South Korea Bio-safety Research Institute and College of Veterinary Medicine, Chonbuk National University, Jeonju, South Korea

Am J Case Rep 2015; 16:4-7

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.891287

Available online:

Published: 2015-01-06


Background: Clostridium tertium is distributed in the soil and in animal and human gastrointestinal tracts. C. tertium has been isolated from patients with blood diseases, immune disorders, and abdominal surgeries. Glyphosate is toxic, causing cause eye and skin irritation, gastrointestinal pain, and vomiting. Ingestion of herbicides modifies the gastrointestinal environment, which stresses the living organisms. However, there has been little attention to cases of bacteremia in patients recovering from suicide attempt by ingesting herbicide.
Case Report: Clostridium tertium was identified in a 44-year-old female who attempted suicide by glyphosate (a herbicide) ingestion. The 16S rRNA sequences from all colonies were 99% identical with that of C. tertium (AB618789) found on a BLAST search of the NCBI database. The bacterium was cultured on TSA under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Antimicrobial susceptibility tests performed under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions showed that the bacterium was susceptible to penicillin, a combination of β-lactamase inhibitor and piperacillin or amoxicillin, and first- and second- generation cephalosporins. However, it was resistant to third- and fourth-generation cephalosporins.
Conclusions: Glyphosate herbicide might be a predisposing factor responsible for the pathogenesis of C. tertium. The results highlight the need for careful diagnosis and selection of antibiotics in the treatment of this organism.

Keywords: Bacteremia - etiology, Adult, Clostridium Infections - etiology, Clostridium tertium - isolation & purification, Deglutition, Glycine - poisoning, Herbicides - poisoning