Toxins of Biological Origin
Biological toxins are produced by certain bacteria, fungi, protozoa, plants, reptiles, amphibians, fish, echinoderma (spiny urchins and starfish), mollusks, and insects.
The EH&S Biosafety Office regulates the possession, use, and transfer of unfractionated mixtures and purified preparations of biological toxins with a mammalian LD50of ≤ 100 ug/kg body weight, as well as the organisms, both natural and recombinant, which produce these biological toxins. These are called “Acute Toxins”.
Registration of biological toxins is required. Forms Available at REGISTRATION FORMS.
Toxins not on this list may still require registration. For more information, please contact the Biosafety Office at 392-1591.
UF EH&S Biological Safety Manual - LD50 values for Biological Toxins
|Botulinin Toxin A||0.0012|
|Botulinin Toxin B||0.0012|
|Botulinin Toxin C1||0.0011|
|Botulinin Toxin C2||0.0012|
|Botulinin Toxin D||0.0004|
|Botulinin Toxin E||0.0011|
|Botulinin Toxin F||0.0025|
|Clostridium difficile enterotoxin A||0.5|
|Clostridium difficile cytotoxin B||220|
|Clostridium perfringens lecithinase||3|
|Clostridium perfringens kappa toxin||1500|
|Clostridium perfringens perfringolysin O||13-16|
|Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin||81|
|Clostridium perfringens beta toxin||0.4|
|Clostridium perfringens delta toxin||5|
|Clostridium perfringens epsilon toxin||0.1|
|Pseudomonas aeruginosa toxin A||3|
|Shigella dysenteriae neurotoxin||1.3|
|Staphylococcus enterotoxin B||25|
|Staphylococcus enterotoxin F||2-10|
|Yersinia pestis murine toxin||10|
*Please note that the LD50 values are from a number of sources (see below). For specifics on route of application (i.v., i.p., s.c.), animal used, and variations on the listed toxins, please go to the references listed below.
- Gill, D. Michael; 1982; Bacterial toxins: a table of lethal amounts; Microbiological Reviews; 46: 86-94
- Stirpe, F.; Luigi Barbieri; Maria Giulia Battelli, Marco Soria and Douglas A. Lappi; 1992; Ribosome-inactivating proteins from plants: present status and future prospects; Biotechnology; 10: 405-412
- Registry of toxic effects of chemical substances (RTECS): comprehensive guide to the RTECS. 1997. Doris V. Sweet, ed., U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; Cincinnati, Ohio
Additional Toxins Which May Require Registration
Lipid A – all types
|Lipopolysaccharides from all species|
Aspergillus sp toxins
Bacillus sp. toxins – all
|Bordetella sp. toxins||Mycotoxins – all|
|Botulinum toxins – all||Myotoxins|
|Brevetoxins||Neurotoxins – all|
|Cholera toxins – all||Palytoxin|
|Clostridia species toxins – all||Pertussis toxins – all|
|Cobra venous and all derived toxins||Psilocybine|
|Cobratoxin||Pseudomonas sp. toxins|
|Conotoxins – all||Reptile venoms – all|
|Dendrodotoxins||Ricin toxins – all|
|DTX-1 (Dinophysistoxin-1)||Short Neurotoxins|
|Echinoderm venoms – all||Snake venoms – all|
|Endotoxins – all||Stable toxins|
|Enterobacteriaciae toxins – all||Staphylococcus sp. toxins|
|Enterotoxins – all||Streptonigrin|
|Escherichia coli toxins – all||Taipoxin|
|Exotoxin A||Tetanus toxins – all|
|Fish venoms – all||Tetrodotoxins – all|
|Fusarium sp. toxins||Textilotoxin|
|Joco Spider Toxin JSTX-3||Tinyatoxin|
|Lappaconitines||Toxin II – all types|
Toxins Classified as Select Agents
Some biological toxins are classified by the Federal Government as Select Agents due to their potential to pose a severe threat to public health and safety. Possession, use, and transfer of these toxins (select agents) is highly regulated.
In small quantities, some of these toxins are exempt from select agent registration. See the table below.
The possession, use, or transfer of ANY select agent toxin, IN ANY QUANTITY, must be registered with the EH&S Biosafety Office. Forms Available at REGISTRATION FORMS
Select agent registration forms must be hand-delivered or mailed.
Select agent registration forms will not be accepted via e-mail or fax.
Exempt Amounts Select Agent Toxins Permissible Per Principal Investigator
HHS (CDC-listed) Toxins
|Diacetoxyscirpenol (DAS)||1000 mg|
|Shiga-like ribosome inactivating proteins||100 mg|
HHS/USDA Overlap Toxins
|Botulinum neurotoxins||0.5 mg|
|Staphylococcal enterotoxins||5.0 mg|
|Clostridium perfringens epsilon toxin||100 mg|
|T-2 toxin||1000 mg|
Working with and Disposing of Biological Toxins
Because they can be extremely hazardous, even in minute quantities, biological toxins require strict safeguards against their inhalation, absorption through skin or mucous membranes (typically due to a splash), ingestion, or percutaneous injury. Information on the safe use of biological toxins can be found at Safety and Health Considerations For Conducting Work With Biological Toxins and Regulation of Select Agents and toxins.
Template for working with acute biological toxins at UF.
Considerations For Conducting Work With Biological Toxins – Key Points
- Written safety protocols to cover the use of the specific toxin(s) in use
- Security measures in place to protect against unauthorized access to toxin(s)
- Inventory control system in place; all entries in a hardbound book, in ink
- Written plan for toxin-related emergencies (spill, exposure, etc) posted
- BSL-2 or BSL-3 containment and practices in use
Specific inactivation and disposal requirements are in place for acute biological toxins. Some toxins are quite resistant to conventional methods of inactivation. These agents cannot be simply placed in the biomedical waste or picked up by EH&S Hazardous Waste Services.