UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
I would like to know if boiling home canned goods for 10 minutes kills the spores, bacteria and toxins which produce botulism, so that it is then safe to eat. Thank you so much for your answer.
Question Date: 2020-10-06
Answer 1:

The spores of botulism are heat resistant and not destroyed by boiling. However, the dangerous toxin produced by the spores is destroyed by temperatures, such as boiling home-canned goods to raise the temperature above 80C for at least 10 minutes. Destroying the spores themselves requires temperatures greater than 121 C and longer times.

Sources: Every






Answer 2:

The vegetative forms of bacteria can be destroyed by boiling but the spores can remain viable after boiling even for several hours. However, the spores can be killed by very high temperature treatments such as commercial canning. from the World Health Organization - here.


Answer 3:

The French microbiologist Louis Pasteur discovered in 1860s that thermal treatment can effectively eliminate microbes in food. The pasteurization process is thus named in his honor. Interestingly, the boiling of canned food to prevent spoilage predates Pasteur's discovery by 50 years.

Clostridium botulinum is the bacterium responsible for foodborne botulism by producing botulinum toxin. Although the toxin can be detoxified by cooking at 100 degree Celsius for 10 minutes, its spore is heat resistant and needs to be in a higher temperature to kill. If left unchecked, the spore would germinate and produce toxin. Commercially canned food is required to be cooked at 121 degree Celsius for 3 minutes in a pressure cooker in order to kill the spores. However, there are still cases of food poisoning, about 15% of total cases in US.

If you are going to can them yourself, make sure you have some autoclave tape to indicate that the pressure cooker has indeed reached the intended temperature. C. botulinum does not thrive in high acidity, high sugar, high oxygen, low moisture, or low temperature environment. It would help if the canned food has any of the above attributes.

Answer 4:

According to the World Health Organization (link below), botulin is destroyed by being subjected to 85 degrees C for five minutes.

Link: here.

Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2020 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use