ergot


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.

ergot

(ûr`gət), disease of rye and other cereals caused by the fungus Claviceps purpurea. The cottony, matlike body, or mycelium, of the fungus develops in the ovaries of the host plant; it eventually turns into a hard pink or purple body, the sclerotium, or ergot, that resembles a grain of rye in shape. The sclerotium contains alkaloids (many of which are biologically active) that are toxic to humans and livestock. Ergot poisoning, or ergotism, epidemic in the Middle Ages, results from eating bread made of rye contaminated with ergot. Ergot poisoning is characterized by constriction of blood vessels, resulting in numbness and the development of gangrene in extremities; it may also affect the nervous system. Some of the alkaloids in ergot, e.g., ergotamine and ergonovine, are used as medicines; these alkaloids are chemical derivatives of lysergic acid, which is used in the synthesis of the hallucinogen LSDLSD
or lysergic acid diethylamide
, alkaloid synthesized from lysergic acid, which is found in the fungus ergot (Claviceps purpurea). It is a hallucinogenic drug that intensifies sense perceptions and produces hallucinations, mood changes, and changes in the
..... Click the link for more information.
. Ergotamine alleviates migraine headaches. Ergonovine is used medicinally to stop hemorrhage and cause contraction of the uterus; during the 17th cent. midwives used ergot to stop postpartum uterine bleeding.

Ergot

 

(1) The parasitic fungus Claviceps purpurea of the class Ascomycetes of the group Pyrenomycetes.

(2) A disease of cereals caused by the fungus Clavicepspurpurea and characterized by the formation of violet sclerotia instead of grains in the spikes. The sclerotia, which represent a resting stage of the fungus, are 1–5 cm long and contain poisonous substances that may cause ergotism, a serious disease of humans and animals contracted by eating contaminated grain or grain products. In the past epidemics and epizooties of ergotism were common in many countries. As a result of advancements in agriculture, the incidence of ergot in cereal crops has decreased.

The causative agent of ergot, which affects more than 170 cultivated and wild cereals, most commonly attacks rye. Sclerotia form, as a rule, in the female sex organs (ovaries). The fungus reproduces by spores, which are distributed during flowering of the cereals by rain, wind, animals, and humans. The disease occurs in regions having a temperate or humid climate. Damage may be substantial: for example, if a spike contains more than 20 sclerotia, only about 20 percent of the nutrient matter entering the spike will be used in grain formation.

Control measures include removing sclerotia from the grains of rye and other cereals; uniform planting of winter and spring cereals to ensure uniform development, flowering, and ripening; inspecting plantations to identify healthy seed-growing plots; shallow plowing of stubble; deep autumn plowing; and selecting varieties with short and uniform periods of flowering.

Z. P. KACHALOVA

(3) Sclerotia of the fungus Claviceps purpurea. The sclerotia contain a large number of alkaloids (derivatives of lysergic acid), biogenic amines (histamine and tyramine), choline, acetylcholine, amino acids, and other substances. The ergot alkaloids are divided into three basic groups: ergotamine, ergometrine (ergobasine), and ergotoxine. Ergot alkaloids and their derivatives exert a complex action on the body (for example, on the uterus, sympathetic nervous system, and central nervous system). The characteristic feature of the alkaloids—mainly of ergometrine and ergotamine—is the ability to induce uterine contractions. The alkaloids are used to sedate the nervous system, lower the basal metabolism, and treat spasms of the blood vessels and hypertension. Ergotamine is effective against migraine.

Sclerotia of ergot are cultivated for medicinal purposes in rye plantings on special farms. The plants are infected during spike formation with the conidiospores of special strains of C. purpurea that produce sclerotia with high alkaloid content.

V. V. PARIN

REFERENCES

Pshedetskaia, L. I. Biologicheskie osobennosti sporyn’i na kul’turnykh i lugovykh zlakakh, kak material dlia obosnovaniia meropriiatiipo bor’bes nei.
Leningrad, 1953. (Dissertation.) Lekarstvennye rasteniia SSSR (kul’tiviruemye i dikorastushchie). Moscow, 1967.
Peresypkin, V. F. Sel’ skokhoziaistvennaia fitopatologiia. Moscow, 1969.

ergot

[′ər·gət]
(mycology)
The dark purple or black sclerotium of the fungus Claviceps purpurea.
(organic chemistry)
Any of the five optically isomeric pairs of alkaloids obtained from this fungus; only the levorotatory isomers are physiologically active.

ergot

the dried sclerotia of C. purpurea, used as the source of certain alkaloids used to treat haemorrhage, facilitate uterine contraction in childbirth, etc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Ergot alkaloids are indole metabolic compounds with specific biological activities (Schardl et al.
The ergot alkaloids profile of Hypocreales is quite different from Eurotiales (Penicillium and Aspergillus species) (Panaccione, 2010; Lorenz et al.
With the installation of the Sortex A at its Metz Facility, with its state-of-the-art optical sorting and handling technology, lighting and feed systems, InVivo is now able to process incoming grain to remove ergot-contaminated product, consistently achieving a maximum ergot contamination level of just 0.
Detailed information on Ergot Alkaloids including product description, safety and efficacy profiles as well as a SWOT analysis.
In 1647 there had been an outbreak of ergot poisoning in London.
Ergot alkaloids are produced by the Claviceps purpurae fungus, which infects rye and other cereal grains.
Delivery had been conducted at home by an unskilled midwife and she had been administered a single intramuscular injection of ergot postpartum.
September 27 2010 - Putting its latest product Mycofix to the test in several in vitro and ex vivo experiments involving ergot and endotoxin poisoning, Austrian animal nutrition firm BIOMIN proves once again its leading reputation in mycotoxins control and management.
The wheat became extremely affected by ergot disease, a toxic fungal disease.
The official explanation was they had been inadvertently poisoned by a baker whose flour was contaminated by ergot, a fungus almost identical to LSD.
Back in 2007, Kramer had been living in New York for ten months basically doing nothing, while comic book artist Harkham had been working on his own material and his loosely annual, experimental comics anthology Kramer's Ergot (named half for his friend and half for a song by Big Black), but Tahli reminded the two of how they had all talked as teens about opening their own store.