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Molds, Mushrooms, and Mycotoxins

Molds, Mushrooms, and Mycotoxins

Clyde M. Christensen
Copyright Date: 1975
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 276
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  • Book Info
    Molds, Mushrooms, and Mycotoxins
    Book Description:

    As Professor Christensen has made evident in his earlier books, including The Molds and Man, fungi are significantly interesting in their life-styles and in the many ways in which they affect man. Here he continues his exploration of the lives of the fungi and their relation to man, focusing on the harmful or dangerous effects which certain molds, mushrooms, and other fungi can have on human beings. The first several chapters deal with fungi that are toxic in one way or another: either the fungi themselves are toxic when consumed, as with poisonous mushrooms and ergot, or the fungi secrete toxic compounds that diffuse into the substance on which they grow, making that substance toxic when eaten. He discusses hallucinogenic as well as poisonous mushrooms and provides extensive information about mycotoxins in human and animal foods, which are recently discovered health hazards. Other chapters deal with fungus spores, which are a major cause of respiratory allergies, and with fungi which are predators or parasites of insects and nematodes. A chapter is devoted to fungus infections of man and animals, which at times constitute a serious public health problem. Another chapter discusses the nature, cause, and prevention of wood decay in trees and buildings. In a final chapter the author discusses some aspects of organic evolution in general as a background for presenting theories and facts on the evolution of fungi. He summarizes some of the ways in which fungi enter into our lives and economy, and looks to the role of fungi in the future. The illustrations, in both black and white and color, show some of the fungi and processes that are discussed.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6190-9
    Subjects: Botany & Plant Sciences

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-2)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 3-6)

    For somewhat more than 40 years much of my time has been devoted to the study of fungi themselves and to problems with which fungi are associated in one way or another.The Molds and Man,published in 1951, was intended to introduce the reader to the fungi in general, to their place in the general scheme of things, and to some of the strange and wonderful adaptations, dodges, and devices they have developed to enable them to compete as successfully as they do in the struggle for existence.Grain Storage: The Role of Fungi in Quality Loss,written in...

  4. 1 Poisonous and Hallucinogenic Mushrooms
    (pp. 7-33)

    Before we get to the central topic of this chapter, poisonous and hallucinogenic mushrooms, a few words on the general subject of picking and eating wild mushrooms. Wild mushroom hunters, or — grammatically at least — more accurately hunters of wild mushrooms (a recent magazine article, describing the death of people who collected and ate wild mushrooms in California, referred to them as “fungus freaks,” which seems unkind), are increasing, and so, doubtless, cases of illness or death from eating the poisonous kinds also will increase. Remarkably enough, many of those who collect and eat wild mushrooms, year after year, have only...

  5. 2 Ergot and Ergotism
    (pp. 34-58)

    Ergot has plagued some of man’s crops and ergotism has tortured man’s body and the bodies of some of his domestic animals ever since he began to cultivate various species of grasses for their edible seeds. The human plagues from consumption of ergot probably are a thing of the past, but not the very distant past, since there were outbreaks of ergotism late in the nineteenth century, and even a few after 1900. Ergot itself, however, still is very much with us, as you will see; it is present regularly every year on wheat, rye, and wild rice (the ergot...

  6. 3 Mycotoxins and Mycotoxicoses: Aflatoxin
    (pp. 59-85)

    Mycotoxins are toxic compounds produced by fungi. Technically, the toxins in poisonous mushrooms and in ergot are mycotoxins, too, but people poisoned by mushrooms or by ergot have to consume at least a moderate amount of the fungus tissues that contain the toxins, whereas in the mycotoxins discussed in this chapter and the next the major portion of the toxins is produced by the fungus in the substrate, or material, in which the fungus is growing. Some of the toxic compound or compounds may be present in the mycelium or in the spores of the fungus itself, but the amount...

  7. 4 Mycotoxins and Mycotoxicoses: Other Aspergillus Species, Penicillium, and Fusarium
    (pp. 86-113)

    Aspergillus ochraceus,likeA. flavus,is a group species that, according to Raper and Fennell (36), includes nine individual species. It is or these are common in soil, in decaying vegetation, and in stored seeds and grains undergoing microbiological deterioration. It can invade materials that have a moisture content in equilibrium with a relative humidity of 80 percent or above, which in the starchy cereal seeds means a moisture content of about 15.5 percent and above, wet weight basis. If wheat is conditioned to a moisture content of 17.0 percent, inoculated with spores ofA. ochraceus,and held at a...

  8. 5 Airborne Fungus Spores, Plant Disease, and Respiratory Allergy
    (pp. 114-142)

    That spores of some fungi could become airborne was shown by actual test nearly a hundred years ago, in 1882, when Marshall Ward, one of the early major prophets in plant pathology, caught spores of the coffee rust fungus,Hemileia vastatrix,as far as 25 feet away from the nearest coffee tree. Though this may not sound like an epochal discovery, in a way it was, because the spores of this fungus are peculiarly adapted to dissemination by splashing raindrops, not by wind. (As an aside, this fungus, a native of Africa, was recently detected in Brazil, something that has...

  9. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  10. 6 Fungus Predators and Parasites of Nematodes and Insects
    (pp. 143-171)

    Among the ecological niches explored and occupied by some of the fungi are the smaller animals, especially nematodes and insects, in the populations of which they help to maintain the balance of nature. This is not a steady and static balance, but a shifting and fluctuating one involving a complex interplay of many different kinds of living organisms, all of them influencing one another and in turn being influenced by such nonliving forces in the environment as temperature and moisture, the physical and chemical makeup of the soil or other substrate in which they live, electrical fields, gravity, phases of...

  11. 7 Fungi Pathogenic in Man and Animals
    (pp. 172-199)

    A few fungi long ago became adapted to a life of parasitism on the outside of or within the bodies of higher animals, including man. These fungi are not especially numerous in the way of species, but some of them have a wide host range and a wide geographic range, and are common in the sense of being regularly present. The diseases they cause are not usually fatal but can be irritating and disfiguring, and in one region or another at one time or another they may constitute a public health problem of some importance. These fungi and the diseases...

  12. 8 Decay of Wood in Trees and Buildings
    (pp. 200-228)

    In nature, wood, like most other plant and animal materials, is continually being recycled, the wood mainly by fire, wood-inhabiting insects, marine borers and gnawers, and wood-rotting fungi, and of these agents of destruction or recycling the wood-rotting fungi probably are more important than all others combined. The present chapter aims to summarize for you some of the aspects of this decay that is going on about us all the time but of which few of us are aware.

    First, something about the chemical and physical makeup of wood. Chemically wood consists primarily of cellulose and lignin, the cellulose accounting...

  13. 9 Fungi Past and Present
    (pp. 229-246)

    From what, when, and how have fungi evolved, and where are they going? For thousands of years similar questions have been asked by thoughtful men about many of the higher plants and animals. One simple answer, of course, is that the fungi and all other kinds of living things were created, de novo, as described in Genesis 1:21: “And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind; and God saw that it was good.”

    There are other views. Long before Christian times,...

  14. References
    (pp. 249-254)
  15. Subject Index
    (pp. 257-262)
  16. Index of Names, Including Authors Cited
    (pp. 263-264)