What Does Aspergillus Flavus Cause?

Aspergillus flavus is a fungus that can infect plants, animals and humans. Agricultural crops are highly susceptible to the damaging effects of its toxins. These toxins can cause diseases in humans.

  1. Significance

    • Aspergillus flavus produces a damaging toxin called "aflatoxin." It has toxic and carcinogenic properties.

    Effects on Plants

    • Aspergillus flavus reduces the quality of crop harvests. Mold formation on corn and peanuts, as well as prevention efforts by farmers, cost the agriculture industry millions of dollars each year.

    Effects on Animals

    • Livestock that consume animal feed contaminated with Aspergillus flavus become ill and eventually die. Aflatoxin damages the liver.

    Effects on Humans

    • Consumption of contaminated crops can result in aflatoxicosis. Symptoms include abdominal pain, vomiting, convulsions, liver damage and even death. Liver cancer is associated with aflatoxins as well. Inhalation of Aspergillus flavus spores results in aspergillosis, which is a fungal growth in the lungs.


    • Adding hydrated sodium calcium aluminosilicate (HSCAS) clay to the diet of livestock reduces the activity of aflatoxins. Antifungal medication, such as amphotericin B, is the recommended treatment for humans infected with Aspergillus flavus.

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