A high-resolution image of the molecular carrier that moves the botulinum toxin from the intestine into the bloodstream. The carrier (silver) creates gaps in the gut lining by grabbing the rope-like molecules (red ribbons) that tether one intestinal cell to the next. Rongsheng Jin, UC Irvine, and Min Dong, Harvard Medical School hide caption

itoggle caption Rongsheng Jin, UC Irvine, and Min Dong, Harvard Medical School

Botulism bacteria, or Clostridium botulinum, grow in poorly preserved canned foods, especially meat and fish. The microbe's toxin could be lethal as a bioweapon. Dr. Phil Luton/Science Photo Library/Corbis hide caption

itoggle caption Dr. Phil Luton/Science Photo Library/Corbis

The botulism toxin comes from Clostridium botulinum bacteria, seen here in a colorized micrograph. James Cavallini/Science Source hide caption

itoggle caption James Cavallini/Science Source