Ergot bodies are the sclerotia (food storage bodies) of the fungus Claviceps purpurea. They are rich in alkaloids – poisons which may cause hallucinations, convulsions, or even death in sufficient quantity.
The ergot bodies are dark purple to black, about the same diameter as barley corns, and up to two inches long.
Although not directly for control of ergot, good agricultural practices of weed control, aphid control, and fungal control programmes will reduce the risk of ergot infection of crops.
Fusarium moulds are widespread on growing crops and normally do little damage to the plant. However, under some conditions they can produce a number of toxins, including deoxynivalenol (DON), nivalenol (NIV) and zearalenone (ZEA).
Fusarium toxins in malt can be prevented by choosing good quality barley, by efficient drying and good storage conditions (for both malt and barley) and by attention to hygiene in the malting plant.
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