Honey sometimes contains Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which may cause infant botulism in humans one year old and under. The bacteria produce botulinum toxin, which eventually paralyzes the infant's breathing muscles.
C. sordellii has been linked to the deaths of more than a dozen women after childbirth.
The anaerobic bacterium C. ljungdahlii, recently discovered in commercial chicken wastes, can produce ethanol from single-carbon sources including synthesis gas, a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen that can be generated from the partial combustion of either fossil fuels or biomass. Use of these bacteria to produce ethanol from synthesis gas has progressed to the pilot plant stage at the BRI Energy facility in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Genes from C. thermocellum have been inserted into transgenic mice to allow the production of endoglucanase. The experiment was intended to learn more about how the digestive capacity of monogastric animals could be improved. Hall et al. published their findings in 1993.
Non-pathogenic strains of clostridia may help in the treatment of diseases such as cancer. Research shows that clostridia can selectively target cancer cells. Some strains can enter and replicate within solid tumours. Clostridia could therefore be used to deliver therapeutic proteins to tumours. This use of Clostridia has been demonstrated in a variety of preclinical models.