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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Mycotoxin Prevention and Applied Microbiology

Title: Trichothecenes: from simple to complex mycotoxins

item McCormick, Susan
item Stanley, April -
item Stover, Nicholas -
item Alexander, Nancy

Submitted to: Toxins
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: June 29, 2011
Publication Date: July 1, 2011
Citation: McCormick, S.P., Stanley, A.M., Stover, N.A., Alexander, N.J. 2011. Trichothecenes: from simple to complex mycotoxins. Toxins. 3(7):802-814.

Interpretive Summary: Trichothecenes are a family of over 200 fungal toxins that block synthesis of proteins. These mycotoxins are produced in mold-infested grains such as corn, wheat, and barley. Ingestion of contaminated grain can result in a variety of symptoms including diarrhea, hemorrhaging, and feed refusal. Production of trichothecenes has been shown to be a virulence factor in wheat head scab. This review describes the biosynthesis of different types of trichothecenes and the genes that control their production. Differences in two genes can result in production of three different classes of trichothecene toxins.

Technical Abstract: As the world's population grows, access to a safe food supply will continue to be a global priority. In recent years, the world has experienced an increase in mycotoxin contamination of grains due to climatic and agronomic changes that encourage fungal growth during cultivation. A number of the molds that are plant pathogens produce trichothecene mycotoxins, which are known to cause serious human and animal toxicoses. This review covers the types of trichothecenes, their complexity, and proposed biosynthetic pathways of trichothecenes.

Last Modified: 8/28/2016
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