Mycotoxins

Fungi share with animals the ability to “Export hydrolytic enzymes” that break down biological substances, which can be absorbed for nutrition. They don’t need a stomach; we call this “External digestion” (They secrete enzyme that digests the environment around them). Along with certain bacteria, molds “Clean up” organic waste and stop the planet becoming a gigantic garbage heap

Fungi & molds (NOT Yeast) can cause direct or indirect toxic effects via secreted poisons called “Mycotoxins”. These substances are often powerfulImmuno-suppressants” and “Carcinogenic”, and thus further reduce the individual’s resistance, not only to mold infections but also to bacteria and viruses. A number of clinical conditions are caused by mold infections, apart from the more obvious athlete’s foot and ringworm; these include Farmer’s lung (caused by moldy hay), Cheese-washer’s lung (from a strain of penicillin) and Bagassosis, a condition that affects those working with sugar cane infected with molds (bagasse is the remains of the treated cane plant, after sugar extraction)

Mold toxins are commonly found in food, particularly in: Cheese, Flour/Bread (Aspergillus, ergot, penicillum, Mucor), Dairy products (Along with antibiotics & hormones), Eggs, and Mushrooms

Symptoms of mold infections (Mycotoxinoses) include: immunosuppression (in general), mold allergic rhinitis (3-days cold), athlete foot, craving sweets & bread, fatigue, and patients are made worse by anything that can be “Fermented”, such as starch and sugars, foodstuffs containing yeast or mold (bread, wine, vinegar, etc.), and moldy or musty surroundings (old buildings, woodlands or animal byres)

Examples of mycotoxins include:

1. Alfatoxin-B1: is secreted by (Aspergillus flavus), and it contaminates (Wheat, milk, eggs, bread, peanuts). It causes: liver damage, cancer, immunosuppression (impaired phagocytosis), and tetratogenicity. It can survive cooking

2. Deoxynivalenol (DON): it is also known as “Vomitox”, because it causes pigs who eat it to vomit. It is secreted by (Fusarium graminearum), and it contaminates (Wheat, corn, barely). It causes: immunosuppression, renal failure, vomiting

3. Fumonisins: is secreted by (Fusarium verticillioides), and it contaminates (Corn). It causes: liver damage, liver & kidney cancers, esophageal cancer

4. T-2 toxin: is secreted by (Fusarium sporotrichioides), and it contaminates (Corn, wheat, barely, rice). It causes: protein synthesis inhibition, DNA/RNA damage, immunosuppression, bloody diarrhea, weight loss, dermal necrosis

5. Onchratoxin-A: is secreted by (Aspergillus ochraceus, Pencillium verrucosum), and it contaminates (Grapes, soy, coffee, house dust). It causes: renal failure (Balkan endemic nephropathy), liver damage, immunosuppression (leukocytopenia, low immunoglobulin production, and low NK cells activity)

6. Ergot: is secreted by (Claviceps species), and it contaminates (Grass, wheat). It causes: seizures, gangrene, peripheral vascular disease, nausea & vomiting, and hallucination (because it produces LSDMagical mushroom)

7. Cyclopiazonic acid: is secreted by (Aspergillus species), and is frequently co-exist simultaneously with alfatoxin-B toxin

8. Zearalenone: is secreted by (Fusarium graminearum), and it contaminates (Corn, wheat, barely). It has hormone-like activity (Estrogenic), causing: cancer of the uterus, obesity, and cellulite

 

 

Selected references

1. Chen J et al. Production of the mycotoxin fumonisin B1 by Alternaria alternata f. sp. lycopersici. Appl. Environ. Microbiol 1992; 58: 3928-3931

2. Corrier DE. Mycotoxicosis: mechanisms of immunosuppression. Vet lmmunol Immunopathol 1991; 30: 73-87

3. Quillien JF. 2002; Mycotoxins. Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique. www.nutrition.org.uk/upload/FF4%20mycotoxins.pdf