Mycological Warfare

Nicholas P. Money

in Carpet Monsters and Killer Spores

Published in print April 2004 | ISBN: 9780195172270
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199790258 | DOI:
 Mycological Warfare

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In addition to public health concerns about fungal spores as carriers of allergic proteins, some molds produce potent toxins called mycotoxins. Aflatoxins generated by species of Aspergillus are perhaps the best known of the mycotoxins. These can accumulate within peanuts, dairy products, and meat. The indoor mold, Stachybotrys chartarum, produces other mycotoxins, including macrocyclic trichothecenes, spirocyclic drimanes, triprenyl phenol metabolites, and stachylysin. This chapter describes the effects of these compounds on cultured cells and laboratory animals. Toxins produced by Stachybotrys were implicated in the deaths of millions of horses in Ukraine in the 1930s. It has also been suggested that trichothecenes and other mycotoxins have been deployed as biological warfare agents in Laos, Yemen, Kampuchea (Cambodia), Afghanistan, and most recently, in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq.

Keywords: mycotoxins; aflatoxins; Aspergillus; macrocyclic trichothecenes; spirocyclic drimanes; triprenyl phenol metabolites; stachylysin

Chapter.  7100 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Microbiology

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