Kenneth A. Voss, Ronald T. Riley, Janee Gelineau van Waes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

16 Scopus citations


This chapter describes fumonisins in detail. The discovery of the fumonisins was a major breakthrough ending the search to identify the mycotoxin(s) causing the animal diseases associated with maize or feeds contaminated with Fusarium verticillioides. The bioavailability, distribution and toxicokinetics of fumonisins have been studied in multiple species. Horses are the most sensitive species to fumonisins. Horses ingesting contaminated feed develop a syndrome referred to as equine leukoencephalomalacia (ELEM). Like ELEM, porcine pulmonary edema is associated with the consumption of moldy feed. Poultry and ruminants are less sensitive. Interest in the potential adverse effects of fumonisins on reproduction and development began shortly after their discovery, suggesting that fumonisins are responsible for the reproductive effects of F. verticillioides. Results of experiments using Syrian hamsters suggested that fumonisins were fetotoxic at doses that did not elicit maternal toxicity. Toxicity was not a prerequisite for embryotoxicity. Neural tube defect, a relatively common birth defect, is associated with fumonisin exposure. Hydrolyzed fumonisin (HFB1) is produced during the cooking and steeping of fumonisin-contaminated maize in alkaline water. Popular snack foods are also made from alkaline cooked maize. It is important to understand how thermal processing affects fumonisins during the preparation of maize-based foods. The effect of alkaline cooking of maize, known as nixtamalization, is of particular interest. Fumonisin B1 has been designated as a possible human carcinogen. Much has been learned about the general toxicity and carcinogenicity of fumonisins in animals; however, their impact on human health remains unclear. © 2011

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationReproductive and Developmental Toxicology
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9780123820327
StatePublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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