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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Toxicology -- Mode of Action of Mycotoxins

Authors
item Norred, William
item Riley, Ronald

Submitted to: International IUPAC Symposium on Mycotoxins and Phycotoxins
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: August 24, 2000
Publication Date: June 1, 2001

Interpretive Summary: Mycotoxins are poisons made by molds, or fungi, that can grow on crops like corn and wheat. If the levels of toxins are high enough, and if the contaminated crop is consumed, the mycotoxins can cause sickness or death. Another concern is the effect that consumption of low levels of the toxin, which don't cause acute illness, may have on health if eaten frequently over a long period of time. An important research area that will help to eliminate mycotoxins as hazards in our food and feed is understanding the mechanisms by which the toxins affect the biochemical processes found in the cells of all living organisms. In this way, we can predict the long-term actions of mycotoxins, the effects if combinations of toxins are consumed, and ways to counteract the effects can be developed. In this paper, four examples from the many hundreds of known mycotoxins are discussed. These four, aflatoxin, cyclopiazonic acid, deoxynivalenol, and fumonisin, have all been studied to the extent that their likely molecular mechanism of action is understood. The examples also demonstrate the differences in mechanisms by which the processes that direct normal functions in cells can be disrupted. Finally, unraveling how a mycotoxin works can lead to new uses of the chemical as a tool to help biochemists understand more about how cells work.

Technical Abstract: Proceedings - No Abstract.

Last Modified: 12/18/2014
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