Jacobs Journal of Cell and Molecular Biology

Student´s Viewpoint about Ergotism

*Usama Razzaq
Institute Of Molecular Biology And Biotechnology, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Pakistan

*Corresponding Author:
Usama Razzaq
Institute Of Molecular Biology And Biotechnology, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Pakistan

Published on: 2019-03-16



Ergotism; Calviceps Purpurea fungus; arterial spasm and Ergot or Ergotamine


Ergotism is a human fungal disease caused by a fungus Calviceps Purpurea due to the consumption of bread contaminated with its poisonous material called ergot. This fungus grows on edible crops i.e. rye of flour, wheat and cereal crops. Molds of fungus in the flowering part of the feed produces a purple or black mass called ergot. When this mass matures, wind carries fungal spores containing ergot to the flower of other crops where these spores germinate, infect and destroy the ovaries of plants. Then these crops matures while containing poisonous or alkaloids materials, a black or purple mass is produced called ergot. Humans caught this disease when they consume bread or flour contaminated with this poisonous material. Signs and symptoms of this disease are spasm, convulsions, gangrene and even death. Its treatments are also taken in the form of intravenous or intra arterial infusion of sodium nitroprusside or nitroglycerine therapeutical measures. Ergot can be separated from the yield by placing kernels contaminated with ergot in a brine solution, the body of ergot float while the kernel of grains sink and this yields is now free from ergot and can be used as food [1].

Secondly, Ergotism occurs due to the over-dose of drugs such as Ergot and Ergotamine. Some chemicals from ergot are used for the preparation of pharmaceutical product Cafergot ( ergot+caffeine). This product is used to treat migraine headaches. To control depression or stress, human tries to use ergot in routine which increases a brain chemical secretion called Serotonin [2] . Its misuse and overuse causes over-production of serotonin creating serious problems of heart. Ergot is also used during childbirth to induce uterine contraction, to expel the placenta and to speed up labor pain. Its over-use is abandoned when human make a connection between the increased births of child and then over-use of ergot to lower pain causing serious problems of gangrene, confusion and vision problems. It can also transfer from mother to offspring during lactation causing Ergotism in infants [3].The purpose of this article was to judge knowledge of students about Ergotism disease.

Materials and Methods

Student´s perception was studied by the following samples of questions.

Table 1: List of Student’s viewpoint about Ergotism.

Statistical analysis

Microsoft Excel is used for statistical analysis. Data of 100 students about Ergotism disease can be calculated on excel’s worksheet. [4]

Results and Discussion

In (Table: 1), Question no: 3 Ergotism is a fungal disease according to 77% students. According to next five question, Ergotism occurring due to fungus (1) is rarely occur in people but Ergotism which occur due to usage of drugs such as ergot or ergotamine for migraine treatment, labor pain, childbirth, uterine contraction occur more in females and in depression and stressed people. According to 11 questions, 62% students think that Ergotism can transfer through blood transfusion or contact. According to next question, about 62% students think that Ergotism can transfer through parents to offspring which is true during lactation time from Ergotism suffered mother; traces of ergot can pass to offspring through milk. 54% of students think that is has medicinal treatment. About 54 students think that it can be treated surgically. Its treatments are also taken, therapy of intravenous or intra-arterial infusion of sodium nitroprusside or nitroglycerine. [7] An important Advancement has been given by Questionnaire based studies in recent researches. This article was published by author Claudia A. Liegl and Michael A. McGrath in 2016 by the name of ‘ Ergotism: case report and review of the literature’ [8-11].


It was concluded that mostly students thought that Ergotism is a fungal disease; it has medicinal and therapeutical treatment.


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