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On the oestrogenic mycotoxin zearalenone, and the pasture fungus Fusarium culmorum

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Abstract:



During investigations in Palmerston North over the period 1975-1980, into the possible involvement of fungal toxins in ryegrass staggers, laboratory cultures of a number of pasture fungi were chemically screened for their ability to produce indole neurotoxins. Although it was shown that numerous isolates of a number of Penicillium spp. were able to produce indole neurotoxins in laboratory culture, this ability was not expressed by any of a number of Fusarium spp. The Fusarium spp. examined included several species previously found to be present in high numbers in toxic ryegrass pastures. In view of the high frequency of occurrence of some of these Fusarium species in the pastures, the opportunity was taken to check the isolates for their ability to produce the potent oestrogenic mycotoxin zearaleone. In fact, the most frequently encountered fungal species on several ryegrass pastures, F.culmorum (W.G. Smith) Sacc., a virtually ubiquitous saphrophytic, and weakly pathogenic, species in New Zealand ryegrass pastures (G.C.M. Latch, pers. comm.), was found to be a good producer of zearalenone. The above finding of the ability of…

Keywords: Fungal; Livestock; Poisoning - plant; Ryegrass staggers

Document Type: Regular Paper

Publication date: 1985-03-01

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