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ergot | Definition, Symptoms, & Ergotism
ergot, fungal disease of cereal grasses, especially rye, caused by species of the ascomycete fungus Claviceps. The disease decreases the production of viable grains by infected plants and can contaminate harvests. Ergot is commonly associated with rye infected by C. purpurea, but other economically important cereals are also susceptible to the disease by other fungal species. For example, ergot of sorghum is caused by C. africana, while that of pearl millet is due to C. fusiformis.The wind carries the fungal spores of ergot to the flowers of susceptible grasses, where the spores germinate, infect, and destroy the ovaries of the plant. In an ear of rye infected with ergot, a sweet, yellowish mucus is exuded for a time, followed by a loss of starch as the ear ceases growth. The ovaries then become permeated by the mycelium, a mass of fungal filaments, which in autumn forms the spur-like purple-black sclerotium. The sclerotia, commonly called ergot, are shaped like grain kernels but are considerably larger and contain a number of poisonous alkaloids. A mature head of grain may carry several ergots in addition to noninfected kernels, and, although most ergots fall to the ground during harvest, some remain on the plants and are mixed with the grain. The ergots remaining on the ground overwinter and produce tiny black mushroom-shaped bodies that expel large numbers of spores in the spring, thus starting a new series of infections.Ingestion of infected rye grains, either directly or by eating flour milled from infected rye, can cause ergotism in humans and livestock, a condition sometimes called St. Anthony’s Fire. The symptoms may include convulsions, hallucinations, miscarriage, and dry gangrene and may result in death. The disease was prevalent in northern Europe in the Middle Ages, particularly in regions of high rye-bread consumption, but its cause was not discovered until 1670. Although modern grain-cleaning and milling methods have practically eliminated the disease, contaminated flour may end up in bread and other food products if the ergot is not removed before milling.The fungal sclerotium constitutes the source of the drugs ergonovine, which is used in obstetrics to control postpartum hemorrhage, and ergotamine, which is used in treating migraine headaches. Ergotism can occur after an overdose of ergot-derived medications. Ergot is also the source of lysergic acid, from which the powerful hallucinogen lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is easily synthesized.
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ergot is isolated on a petri dish then transferred to liquid culture using malt extract agar for the petri dishes and light malt extract (or something similar) for the liquid cultures..
prepare a nutrient medium using malt extract agar..
«Dissolve in distilled water to make 1 liter. Adjust to Ph 4 with
ammonium hydroxide solution to increase alkalinity or citric acid to increase acidity. Sterilize nutrient. This medium is placed in cotton-stoppered slants or in covered but not airtight petri dishes and inoculated with ergot. Temperature is maintained at 27°C; pH4 is maintained by periodic testing and adjustment. The culture is allowed to grow for 2 weeks under these conditions. After this time clusters of the fungus will be seen on the surface.
2) Large-Scale Production
Construct aerated culture jugs as in the diagram below.
In a blender homogenize the activated ergot with its growing media. Fill all culture jugs 3/4 way with formula given above. Inoculate the jugs with portions of the homogenized active ergot culture. Keep jugs out of bright light at 25°C for 10 days with constant aeration. After 10 days adjust the culture to 1% ethanol by introducing 2 oz of 50/50 ethanol/water solution at injection point. Aeration must be momentarily stopped to do this. As soon as ethanol solution is added reconnect glass tubing to rubber tubing at injection point and resume aeration. Let growth continue for 14 more days.
After the total 24 days growth the culture is made acidic with tartaric acid solution and homogenized in a blender. After 1 hour adjust this to pH9 with ammonium hydroxide solution. Extract in a separation funnel with benzene or 50/50 chloroform/isobutanol. Extract again with alcoholic tartaric acid. Evaporate to dryness under reduced pressure. The dried product is the tartrate salt of the mixed ergot alkaloids. In this form it is fairly stable. It must be converted to the less stable free base before commencing synthesis of LSD-25. To do so adjust to pH9 with ammonium hydroxide, extract in chloroform and evaporate chloroform under reduced pressure.»
d-lysergic acid diethylamide LSD-25 rye ergot fungus sclerotium Ergine Hypocreaceae ergotamine ergopeptine Claviceps purpurea ; africana (sorghum); paspali ryegrass grass seed d-lysergic acid amide d-lysergamide alkaloid ergoline psychedelic seeds Turbina corymbosa ololiuhqui, Argyreia nervosa Hawaiian baby woodrose Ipomoea tricolor morning glories, tlitliltzin ergine isoergine synthetic synthesis LSA iso-LSA iso-LSD psychedelic Claviceps africana fusiformis paspali purpurea sorghi zizaniae lutea fungus
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