Importance of Mycotoxins in the Brewing Process

  • Brian Flannigan


A letter from John Snell to his cousin, “Good Cosen Francis”, indicates that in 1669 (Stones, 1984), although the presence of toxins per se in beer might not have been recognized, the effects were. In this letter, Mr. Snell related that he had been in the west of Scotland, where there was “a certaine weed or grayne” growing in the barley fields which could not be separated from the barley. Many apparently viewed this as a judgment from God, on account of its having “such a mischievous effect that one gill of ale or bere wherein such grayn hath been will fuddle a man more than a gallon of other drink”. This rogue “grayne” was called roseger by most people, but Mr. Snell notes that the “learned say it is that wee call in Latin lolium”. In that case, it was Lolium temulentum (temulentia = drunkenness), which is probably the “tares” of Biblical times. It might be suggested that the economy of arriving at a state of inebriation by consuming the equivalent of only 3% of the beer normally required for this achievement should have appealed to a Scotsman, but in France the use of L. temulentum to “fortify” or enhance the effects of beer was apparently prohibited during the reign of Louis IX (St. Louis) between 1226 and 1270!


Fusarium Mycotoxin Trichothecene Mycotoxin Brewing Process Kluyveromyces Fragilis Blind Seed 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian Flannigan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Brewing and Biological SciencesHeriot-Watt UniversityEdinburghUK

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