Citreoviridin (CIT) is a highly toxic mycotoxin produced by the mould Penicillium citreoviridin (PCV) [ Penicillium citreonigrum]. The mould itself is a very common contaminant of a number of agricultural products. Its mode of action is to inhibit cell proliferation and it appears to damage a number of tissues and organs. The liver, kidney, heart and central nervous system (CNS) are all particularly vulnerable to this toxin (Bai et al., 2015)
The mycotoxin has also been extracted from a number of Pencillium moulds including P. charlesii (Cole et al., 1981). CIT has also been isolated from uranium mines and miners’ throats (Sram et al., 1993a, b).
The type of foodstuffs which have been contaminated are primarily rice and corn especially in Asia and South America respectively (Roas et al., 2010; Alemida et al., 2012). Nuts, especially pecan nuts have also been contaminated (Cole et al., 1981).
It has an unusual structure that consists of a lactone ring conjugated to a furan ring, and has a molecular weight of 402.5.
The acute toxicity, cardiotoxicity, and neurotoxicity of CIT have been studied since the 1970s. It has been found that CIT causes vomiting, convulsions, ascending paralysis, respiratory arrest, neurological symptoms, and depressed sensory responses in animals (Ueno, 1972; Ueno and Ueno, 1972; Datta and Ghosh, 1981). In mice, oral and intraperitoneal LD50s of CIT are 20 mg/kg and 7.5 mg/kg, respectively (Ueno and Ueno, 1972).
The mycotoxin affects the enzymes acetylcholinesterase and ATPase which are specifically located in the synaptosomes and microsomes of the brain (Datta & Ghosh, 1981a & b).
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