Trichothecenes are a very large family of chemically related mycotoxins produced by various species of Fusarium, Myrothecium, Trichoderma, Trichothecium, Cephalosporium, Verticimonosporium, and Stachybotrys. [ [ Trichothecene mycotoxins] ] Trichothecenes belong to sesquiterpene compounds. These compounds were used in chemical warfare by the Soviet Union on several occasions.

The most important structural features causing the biological activities of trichothecenes are: the 12,13-epoxy ring, the presence of hydroxyl or acetyl groups at appropriate positions on the trichothecene nucleus and the structure and position of the side-chain. They are produced on many different grains like wheat, oats or maize by various Fusarium species like F. graminearum, F. sporotrichioides, F. poae or F. equiseti.

Some molds that produce trichothecene mycotoxins, such as Stachybotrys chartarum, can grow in damp indoor environments. It has been found that macrocyclic trichothecenes produced by Stachybotrys chartarum can become airborne and thus contribute to health problems among building occupants. [ [ Detection of Airborne Stachybotrys chartarum Macrocyclic Trichothecene Mycotoxins in the Indoor Environment] ] [ Etzel RA (2002) Mycotoxins. Journal of the American Medical Association; 287:425-427. [] ]

This group of structurally related mycotoxins has a strong impact on the health of animals and humans due to their immunosuppressive effects. Type A trichothecenes (e.g. T-2 toxin, HT-2 toxin, Diacetoxyscirpenol) are of special interest because they are even more toxic than the related type B trichothecenes (e.g. Deoxynivalenol, Nivalenol, 3- and 15-Acetyldeoxynivalenol). Their major effects – related to their concentration in the commodity – are reduced feed uptake, vomiting and immuno-suppression.

Only few countries have recommended levels for these mycotoxins in food and animal feed but it is often tested for to prevent them from entering the food chain and to prevent losses in animal production.

The poisonous mushroom in Japan and China, "Podostroma cornu-damae" contains six trichothecenes; [ Satratoxin H] , Roridin E, Verrucarin and others.

CIA, UN, and other reports implicate Soviet trichothecenes in chemical attacks in Laos, Afghanistan, and other countries during the 1980s. ["USE OF TOXINS AND OTHER LETHAL CHEMICALS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA AND AFGHANISTAN," NARA #: NN3-263-98-002; DATE: 13 NOV 1997. [] .]

Epoxitrichothecenes are a variation of the above, and were once explored for military use in east Germany, and possibly the whole Soviet bloc. There is no feasible treatment once symptoms of epoxithichothecene poisoning set in, though the effects can subside without leaving any permanent damage.

The first symptoms exhibited are general discomfort, dry eyes, and drowsiness. A red rash appears shortly, starting in blotches and swiftly covering the entire body. Symptoms of a classic hemorrhagic fever set in, which include blood-red eyes, vomiting/urinating of blood, nosebleed, and patches of skin ranging from quarter- to A4-sheet size begin to bleed sponateously. Brain function is also impaired, with the victim progressing from slurred speech to classic 'fever dreams' to various psychological conditions from Multiple Personality Disorder to Paranoia. The victim succumbs to loss of blood, fever, or systemic hyperinfection brought on by the weakened immune system, whichever comes first.

If the patient survives, he will recover from most of the symptoms, although patches of skin will still bleed spontaneously for short periods of time. His immune system remains weakened, and his mental faculties will be severely damaged.

The plans for use as a large-scale bioweapon were dropped, as the relevant Epoxitrichothecenes degrade very quickly under UV light and heat, as well as chlorine exposure, making them useless for open attacks and the poisoning of water supplies.


External links

* [ Detailed information about mycotoxins]
* [ Vendor's Product Website]
* [ Structures of some of the Commoner Trichothecene Mycotoxins.]

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  • trichothecene — [trik΄ə thē′sēn΄] n. any of a group of toxins that cause vomiting, coma, etc., produced by various fungi and sometimes found in rotting food, esp. potatoes: thought to have been used as a biological weapon …   English World dictionary

  • Trichothecene — Chemische Struktur von Trichothecenen Trichothecene sind eine sehr große Familie von chemisch verwandten Mykotoxinen, die von verschiedenen Arten von Pilzen, unter anderem aus den Gattungen Fusarium, Myrothecium, Trichoderma, Trichothecium,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Trichothécène — structure chimique des trichothécènes Les trichothécènes sont des mycotoxines sécrétées par certaines espèces de champignons du sol qui peuvent devenir des parasites de végétaux ; les Fusarium, Myrothecium, Trichoderma, Trichothecium,… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • trichothecene — noun Etymology: New Latin Trichothecium (from trich + thecium) + English ene Date: 1971 any of several mycotoxins that are produced by various fungi (as genera Fusarium and Trichothecium) and that include some contaminants of livestock feed and… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • trichothecene — /truy keuh thee sin/, n. any of a group of toxins derived from various imperfect fungi, as of the genera Fusarium and Trichothecium. [1970 75; < NL Trichothec(ium) genus name (see TRICHO , THECIUM) + ENE] * * * …   Universalium

  • trichothecene — noun Any of many related mycotoxins produced by pathogenic fungi of the genus Fusarium …   Wiktionary

  • trichothecene — tricho·the·cene .trik ə thē .sēn, tri käth ə .sēn n any of several mycotoxins that are produced by various fungi (as of the genera Fusarium and Trichothecium) and that include some contaminants of livestock feed and some held to be found in… …   Medical dictionary

  • trichothecene — tricho·the·cene …   English syllables

  • trichothecene — tri•cho•the•cene [[t]ˌtraɪ kəˈθi sɪn[/t]] n. fng any of a group of toxins derived from various imperfect fungi, as of the genera Fusarium and Trichothecium[/ex] • Etymology: 1970–75; < NL Trichothec(ium) (tricho tricho +thecium< Gkthēkíon,… …   From formal English to slang

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