Fusarium Mycotoxin Poses Great Threat to Human Health

by Trent Congrove

Mycotoxins are toxic metabolites that can cause many health effects by getting into our foods and the feed we use for our animals.  Fusarium is type of mycotoxin that can be found in our crop fields and in our stored grains and feeds.

These mycotoxins can vary on the health of humans due to factors such as:

  • Amount of mycotoxin ingested
  • Exposure to mycotoxin
  • Age and body condition of human or animal
  • Mycotoxin type

Fusarium is one of many mycotoxins that have an effect on the health of animals and humans.  Fusarium is very capable of causing acute to chronic effects on the body.  The effects are generally within the immune system and the intestines.  The effects on the immune system include immunostimulatory or immunosuppressive effects on the body depending on certain factors.

There are also two other types of mycotoxins found in stored feed. The two types are Aspergillus and penicillium that can also be tragic to our animals. There are also four toxicologically important Fusarium fungi and they include:

 – tricothecenes, T-2 toxins, zearalenone, and fumonisin B1

 The Fusarium fungi form as the temperatures get lower and the overall climate tends to stay cooler.  The Fusarium fungi can be found in many areas of the United States and is a universal threat to our food and health security.  For many animals the effects can vary depending on the animal type and exposure methods.  Some effects on animals in diarrhea and can also effect the brain in other animals such as horses.

This blog post was an assignment for Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives and the Environment (PLNTPTH 4597). The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the class, Department of Plant Pathology or the instructor.

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