Hepatic and Renal Pathology Induced in Mice by Feeding Fungal Cultures

  • S. J. van Rensburg
  • I. F. H. Purchase
  • J. J. van der Watt


Our search for toxic fungi originated from the concept that mycotoxins may be responsible for liver cancer in certain tribes in Africa. In order to provide a practical screening technique for the toxicity of fungal cultures, ducklings have frequently been used because of their known susceptibility to aflatoxin and because they will eat foods which are unpalatable to mammals. The drawback of these acute toxicity tests is that death (or weight loss) is the only criterion on which to judge toxicity and that acute toxicity is used as an index for carcinogenicity. The economic implications of using very longterm screening tests for carcinogens and the fact that the vast majority of carcinogens are also acutely toxic have so far prevented large-scale chronic toxicity studies. The only practical way of overcoming the objection to using death as the only end point is to examine animals fed fungal cultures for pathological lesions. We have found that the histopathological examination of organs from ducklings consuming fungal cultures is unrewarding except in a few cases such as Aspergillus flavus toxicity.


Proximal Tubule Cyclopiazonic Acid Renal Glomerulus Vacuolar Degeneration Rhizopus Arrhizus 
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Copyright information

© South African Medical Research Council 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. J. van Rensburg
    • 1
  • I. F. H. Purchase
    • 1
  • J. J. van der Watt
    • 1
  1. 1.National Institute for Nutritional Diseases South African Medical Research CouncilSouth Africa

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