Because the term “mycotoxicosis” encompasses a significant number of toxic agents, this technical card will focus on specific toxins most relevant to wildlife species.
Mycotoxins are compounds synthesised by moulds that cause toxic, non-infectious disease in the animals that ingest them. There are many mycotoxins, some of which are only synthesised by one organism and some of which are synthesised by many, and therefore have several potential clinical manifestations. It should be noted that not all isolates from a mould species known to produce toxins will do so. Synthesis of mycotoxins is induced by complex relationships between genetic composition and the environment; therefore, the presence of a specific organism does not confirm the presence of a toxin.
This technical card will focus on: aflatoxin, produced by Aspergillus flavus and parasiticus; ergot alkaloids, produced by Claviceps purpurea; and fusariotoxins such as fumonisin, the trichothecenes, and zearalenone, produced by Fusarium spp.