A comparative transcriptome approach was used to assess genes involved in metabolism and pathogenesis that are specifically activated during anaerobic growth of the spore-forming food-borne human pathogen Bacillus cereus ATCC 14579. Growth under anaerobic conditions in Brain Heart Infusion broth revealed a reduced growth rate and a lower yield as compared to that under aerobic conditions. Comparative transcriptome analysis of cells harvested at early- and mid-exponential growth phase, transition phase and stationary phase, subsequently showed hundreds of genes to be induced under anaerobic condition. These included novel genes identified for anaerobic growth of B. cereus, encoding metabolic pathways, such as the arginine deiminase pathway (ArcABDC), a formate dehydrogenase (FdhF) and a pyruvate fomate lyase (Pfl), and alternative respiratory proteins, such as arsenate reductases. Furthermore, the nitrosative stress response was induced in the anaerobic transition phase of growth, conceivably due to the production of nitric oxide as a by-product of nitrite and nitrate respiration. Notably, both hemolytic enzyme and enterotoxin encoding genes were activated in different oxygen limiting conditions, i.e. hemolytic enzyme encoding genes were induced during anaerobic growth, whereas enterotoxin encoding genes were induced in the transition and stationary phase of aerobic cultures reaching a high cell density. These data point to metabolic rearrangements, stress adaptation and activation of the virulent status of B. cereus under anaerobic conditions, such as encountered in the human GI-tract.