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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Hepatotoxic Mycotoxins

item Eaton, David
item Beima, Kristin
item Bammler, Theo
item Riley, Ronald
item Voss, Kenneth - Ken

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/6/2009
Publication Date: 8/12/2010
Citation: Eaton, D.L., Beima, K.M., Bammler, T.K., Riley, R.T., Voss, K.A. 2010. Hepatotoxic Mycotoxins. In: Roth, R.A., Ganey, P.E., editors. Comprehensive Toxicology. 2nd edition. Volume 9 - Hepatic Toxicology. Elsevier. p. 527-569.

Interpretive Summary: Book chapter - see Technical Abstract

Technical Abstract: Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites of fungi. Aflatoxins represent one of the most important classes of hepatotoxic mycotoxins known to adversely affect human health. Aflatoxins are the most potent identified mycotoxins and are produced by three fungal species: the common fungal molds Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus, and the rare fungal mold Aspergillus nomius. Aflatoxins are difuranocoumarin compounds. Fumonisins, like aflatoxins, are toxic fungal metabolites that are known to cause farm animal diseases and are carcinogenic in laboratory animals. Unlike aflatoxins the fumonisins are water soluble and are neither metabolized nor DNA reactive and are not proven to cause any disease in humans. While at least 28 different fumonisin analogues have been described, fumonisins B1, B2 and B3 are the primary fumonisins associated with natural contamination. They are produced mainly on maize by certain Fusarium species, most notably F. verticillioides and F. proliferatum. While aflatoxins are usually considered to only be produced in high levels post-harvest and are not associated with any plant disease, the fumonisins are produced in the field and are pathogenicity factors in maize seedling disease and may also contribute to other Fusarium-induced maize diseases. Although the evidence associating fumonisin exposure with liver cancer in humans is weak, fumonisins and aflatoxins co-occur on maize and fumonisin promotes aflatoxin carcinogenicity in trout and rats making the co-exposure to these two hepatocarcinogens a concern for humans consuming large amounts of maize as a dietary staple.

Last Modified: 07/24/2017
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