Guides for Emergency Response: Biological Agent or Weapon: Mycotoxins/T-2
Guides for Emergency Response: Biological Agent or Weapon: Mycotoxins/T-2 AGENT: Trichothecene mycotoxins are a large group of toxins produced by several species of fungi. T-2 is one of the most stable of these toxins and therefore the most likely to be used in terrorist actions. Th is toxin was allegedly used as an aerosol, popularly known as “yellow rain,” in Laos (1975-1981), Kampuchea (1979-1981), and Afghanistan (1979-1981). Th e trichothecene mycotoxins belong to a group of more than forty compounds produced by fungi. Th ey tend to be strong inhibitors of protein synthesis, interfere with DNA synthesis, limit mitochondrial respiration, and change cell membrane structure and function. Secondary metabolites of fungi, such as T-2 toxin, as well as others, produce toxic reactions called mycotoxicoses upon inhalation or consumption of contaminated food products by humans or animals. Naturally occurring trichothecenes have been identifi ed in agricultural products and have been implicated in a disease of animals known as moldy corn poisoning.