Industrial Applications of Soil Microbes

Volume: 2

Ergot, Ergotism and its Pharmaceutical Use

Author(s): Doomar Singh *

Pp: 234-247 (14)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815050264123020017

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Many fungi are directly or indirectly toxic to humans and animals. Ergot, a fruiting body of the Claviceps purpurea fungus, contaminates grain after harvest and is toxic to humans and animals who consume contaminated grains. The lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) that was widely used as a hallucinogen is best known as the ergot alkaloids. The main symptoms of the disease caused by consuming ergot-contaminated grain flour in humans and animals are blistering and reddening of the skin with a burning sensation. Ergot alkaloids such as agroclavine, ergovaline, ergotamine, ergonovine, lysergic acid, dopamine, etc., are the natural alkaloids produced by Claviceps spp. in many cereal crops (mainly wheat, barley, rye, bajra, jowar, and dallisgrass), but rye (triticale) is the most common host of this fungus. Contaminated grain may cause very harmful diseases to internal organs, the circulatory and nervous systems of animals and humans, and even they may die. Ergot alkaloids are very important in the pharmaceutical industry. Therefore, this soil-borne fungus, which can be used in the manufacturing of different types of medicines for human and animal welfare, is very important.

Keywords: Claviceps purpurea, Ergot, Ergotism, Ergot alkaloids, Holy fire, LSD.

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