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What is T-2 toxin?

What is T-2 toxin?

T-2 toxin is a trichothecene, produced by the Fusarium species of fungi. Fusarium spp. are also responsible for vomitoxin (DON) and zearalenone.  T-2 can be found under similar growing conditions (wet and cool).

What is HT-2 toxin?

HT-2 toxin is a metabolite of T-2, and cannot be differentiated immunologically.  The EnviroLogix T-2/HT-2 rapid assay has balanced recognition of both toxins, and delivers a combined result.  Both T-2 and HT-2 are toxic, and emerging regulations and current recommendations do not require differentiation between the two forms of the toxin.

Regulations vary globally, and can be found as low as 5 ppb in food and 10 ppb in feed (EU), but most limits are greater than 50 ppb.  T-2/HT-2 toxicity is well characterized in research, even though it is not well regulated as a result.  There are acute (immediate) and chronic (long-term) affects to T-2 exposure, including apoptosis (programmed cell death) within immune systems and fetal tissues.  On the skin, the toxin is absorbed quickly and can produces lesions.

Are these toxins dangerous?

In humans, the toxin does not stick around within the body; it is rapidly metabolized.  However, the impact of ingestion can be severe at high concentrations, even fatal.  There are controversial accounts and some evidence that T-2 has been used in chemical warfare, including against the US forces during Operation Desert Storm.

Animals are particularly susceptible to the effects of T-2 ingestion. Although they also rapidly metabolize T-2, animals experience impacts similar to DON including lower feed intake and reduced weight gain, combined with other negative chronic effects to immune and reproductive systems.

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