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Title: Recent investigations of ergot alkaloids incorporated into plant and/or animal systems

item Klotz, James
item SMITH, DARRIN - Eastern Kentucky University

Submitted to: Frontiers in Chemistry: Chemical Biology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/9/2015
Publication Date: 3/25/2015
Citation: Klotz, J.L., Smith, D.L. 2015. Recent investigations of ergot alkaloids incorporated into plant and/or animal systems. Frontiers in Chemistry: Chemical Biology. 3:23. doi:10.3389/fchem.2015.00023.

Interpretive Summary: This editorial article summarizes the complex challenges of studying ergot alkaloids in biological systems. It introduces some of the most recent research using cutting edge technologies to tackle the issue from different aspects and numerous disciplines. This collection of articles summarized, highlights both the complexity of the problem and the diverse approaches necessary to address these issues with the hope that future interest will be cultivated to solve global ergot alkaloid challenges. Ultimately, this effort will benefit researchers in this field of study by providing them with a snapshot of recent research across disciplines in the area of ergot alkaloids.

Technical Abstract: Ergot alkaloids produced by fungi have a basic chemical structure but different chemical moieties at substituent sites resulting in various forms of alkaloids that are distinguishable from one another. Since the ergoline ring structure found in ergot alkaloids is similar to that of biogenic amines (neurotransmitters), a variety of physiological effects can result after ingestion. Research involving ergot alkaloids is an increasing important global issue as more governments pass laws that limit permissible levels of ergot alkaloids in both foodstuffs and feedstuffs. Regardless of whether these compounds are found directly in foodstuffs or in feed/plants given to forage animals (i.e., cattle, sheep, horses, and goats), introduction of these compounds can complicate the food supply. In addition, toxicosis resulting from alkaloids can be a costly hindrance, with mounting annual production losses associated with forage-animal production systems that impact other agricultural and food based industries. Recent advances for the analysis of these compounds in different matrices as well as the understanding the role these compounds play in biological pathways have begun to help address the issue.