The influence of mycotoxins on child health in the tropics

  • R. G. Hendrickse


Mycotoxins are toxins produced by fungi, many of which are highly toxic to animals and man. Ergotism, caused by the alkaloids of Claviceps purpurea which contaminates grain, was known to the ancient Chinese, Greeks, Romans and Arabs and was an epidemic scourge in Europe from the middle ages to comparatively recent times. The origins of knowledge of this serious mycotoxicosis are losts in the mists of antiquity but mycotoxins and the diseases caused by them excited little interest in modern scientific literature until the discovery of anatoxins in the early 1960s. Since then there has been an explosion of knowledge about many aspects of mycotoxins and the field is currently bewildering in its complexity [1]. The medical profession in general and clinicians in particular have, however, made little contribution to recent growth in knowledge about mycotoxins and, if the truth must be acknowledged, remain woefully ignorant about a subject that may have great implications for human health worldwide, but especially in the tropics where climatic, environmental and a variety of social factors produce conditions particularly favourable to the growth of many food moulds.


Protein Energy Malnutrition Balkan Endemic Nephropathy Reyes Syndrome Environmental Health Criterion Claviceps Purpurea 
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© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Dordrecht 1985

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  • R. G. Hendrickse

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