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By International Society for the Philosophy of Chemistry; Joseph E. Earley, Sr.

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The failure of the shell as a physical barrier to prevent contamination of the kernel by aflatcndgemc Aspergillus strains renders the discovery of phytochemical resistance factors more significant. Plant constituents which confer resistance to infection can be classified as phytoalexins or phytoanticipins (12). Phytoalexins are inducible metabolites, formed de novo after infection, either by gene derepression or activation of latent enzyme systems. Phytoanticipins are constitutive metabolites, present in situ, either in the active form or easily generatedfroma precursor.

16. Hedin, P. ; Collum, D. ; Langhans, V. ; Graves, C. H. J. Agric. Food Chem. 1980, 28, 340-342. 17. ; Cary, J. ; Cleveland, T. E; Payne, G. ; Linz, J. E. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 1995, 61, 2365-2371. 18. ; Molyneux, R. J. unpublished results. 19. Campbell, B. -S. ; Light, D. , Molyneux, R. ; Roitman, J. ; Merrill, G. ; Baker, J. ; Mehelis, C. N. Proc. Aflatoxin Elimination Workshop, Memphis, T 28 Oct 1997, p. 20. 20. Light, D. , Mehelis, C. N. Proc. Aflatoxin Elimination Workshop, Memphis, TN.

On the basis of this data it appears that the toxicity of aflatoxins is comparable with other natural hepatotoxins and may well be exceeded by the pyrrolidine alkaloids, which are not so stringently regulated. Nevertheless, the perception of the extreme hazards of aflatoxin has recently received supportfromnews reports that Iraq has admittedfillingballistic warheads and bombs with botulinum, anthrax and aflatoxin (3,4). Even if the human toxicity of aflatoxins is accepted, it is difficult to rationalize use of these compounds as an offensive tactical weapon, because the debilitating effects of human exposure would not be immediate and incapacitating.

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