Toxicity and Role of Fumonisins in Animal Diseases and Human Esophageal Cancer

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Fumonisins are secondary metabolites of Fusarium moniliforme, Fusarium proliferatum and several other Fusaria that commonly contaminate corn. Only recently discovered in 1988, these mycotoxins appear to be the causative agents of several toxicoses in animals that result from ingestion of moldy corn or corn-based feeds. The syndromes observed vary considerably among the different species affected and include brain lesions in equids, lung edema in swine, and nephrotoxicity, hepatotoxicity and hepatocellular carcinoma in laboratory rats. There is also evidence that suggests that F. moniliforme and fumonisins may also be responsible for esophageal cancer in humans in certain areas of the world where moldy corn is frequently consumed. Studies are currently underway to determine the extent of the hazards posed by fumonisins, and whether controls in the form of regulatory action levels may be necessary.


Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: Toxicology and Mycotoxins Research Unit, Richard B. Russell Agricultural Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 5677, Athens, Georgia 30613

Publication date: June 1, 1994

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