This supplement contains many of the papers presented at the SfAM joint Interest Group symposium on Toxins held at the University of East Anglia in 1997. The organisers of the symposium were A R Davies, M Easter, A F Godfree, T J Mitchell and E G M Power. Many factors determine the outcome of the host- bacterium relationship. Though the majority of bacteria are largely harmless to man, attention is inevitably focused on those micro-organisms which cause disease. There are multiple steps in the pathogenic process but microbial toxins represent a massive and increasing area of interest to the scientific community. The definition of a toxin is surprisingly difficult to agree upon, but an attempt may be made to define them as 'substances which, when introduced into a foreign host, cause adverse effects'. It must not be forgotten, however, that certain toxins are used therapeutically to control some medical conditions!
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Blackwell Science Ltd
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