Molds, Mycotoxins and Your Health
Mycotoxins are toxins produced by molds or fungi. The mycotoxins discussed here are the Trichothecenes, Aflatoxins, Ochratoxins, Gliotoxin, Chaetoglobosins and Sterigmatocystin. Where conditions are right, fungi proliferate into colonies and mycotoxin levels become high. Toxins vary greatly in their severity. Some fungi produce severe toxins only at specific levels of moisture, temperature or oxygen in the air. Some toxins are lethal, some cause identifiable diseases or health problems, some weaken the immune system without producing symptoms specific to that toxin, some act as allergens or irritants, and some have no known effect on humans. Some mycotoxins generally have more negative impacts on farm animal populations than on humans. Some mycotoxins are harmful to other micro-organisms such as other fungi or even bacteria (penicillin is one example).