Introduction

Mycotoxins have been defined as 'fungal metabolites which, when ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin, cause lowered performance, sickness or death in man or animals, including birds'.

Exposure to mycotoxins can produce both acute and chronic toxic effects ranging from death to deleterious effects on the central nervous, cardiovascular and pulmonary systems, and on the alimentary tract. Mycotoxins may be carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic and immunosuppressive. The ability of some mycotoxins to compromise the im mune system and, consequently, to reduce resistance to infectious disease, is now widely considered to be their most important effect.

The mycotoxins attract worldwide attention because of the significant economic losses associated with their impact on human health, animal productivity and both domestic and international trade. It has been estimated, for example, that annual losses in the USA and Canada arising from the impact of mycotoxins on the feed and livestock industries are in the order of US$5 billion. In developing countries where the food staples (e.g. maize and groundnuts) are susceptible to contamination, significant additional losses amongst the human population are likely, because of morbidity and premature death associated with the consumption of mycotoxins.

It is likely that mycotoxins have plagued mankind since the beginning of organized crop production. Ergotism (St Anthony's Fire), for example, which is caused by the consumption of rye contaminated with the 'ergot alkaloids', is discussed in the Old

Testament, and reached epidemic proportions in many parts of Europe in the tenth century.

Solar Panel Basics

Solar Panel Basics

Global warming is a huge problem which will significantly affect every country in the world. Many people all over the world are trying to do whatever they can to help combat the effects of global warming. One of the ways that people can fight global warming is to reduce their dependence on non-renewable energy sources like oil and petroleum based products.

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