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Author Topic: Is eating mouldy bread bad?  (Read 11625 times)

Mel Holloway

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Is eating mouldy bread bad?
« on: 15/12/2008 11:10:13 »
Mel Holloway asked the Naked Scientists:

As I was trimming mould from a loaf of bread, I wondered was there any harm that might be caused by eating mouldy bread.  What toasting the bread neutralise the harmful factors if any?

I remember a story that Jews living in ghettos during medieval plagues survived and were consequently accused of witchcraft. A hypothesis proposed they survived the plague because they were unknowingly taking penicillin by eating mouldy bread.

What do you think?


 

Offline RD

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Is eating mouldy bread bad?
« Reply #1 on: 15/12/2008 12:43:42 »
Depends on what kind of mould ...

Quote
Ergot is the common name of a fungus in the genus Claviceps that is parasitic on certain grains and grasses.
Ergotism is the name for sometimes severe pathological syndromes affecting humans or animals that have ingested ergot alkaloid-containing plant material, such as ergot-contaminated grains. The common name for ergotism is "St. Anthony's Fire", in reference to the symptoms, such as severe burning sensations in the limbs. These are caused by effects of ergot alkaloids on the vascular system due to vasoconstriction of blood vessels, sometimes leading to gangrene and loss of limbs due to severely restricted blood circulation. The neurotropic activities of the ergot alkaloids may also cause hallucinations and attendant irrational behaviour, convulsions, and even death. Other symptoms include strong uterine contractions, nausea, seizures, and unconsciousness.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ergot

PS
The isolation of a ghetto could prevent transmission of infectious disease.
 

blakestyger

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Is eating mouldy bread bad?
« Reply #2 on: 15/12/2008 16:28:36 »
Ergot is like that, but isn't wheat ergot found on the growing plant? Its toxic component can survive baking but it's tested for before it gets that far - though I remember an ocurrence in the US some years ago.
I think that Mel was refering to common bread mould that appears in bread kept too long in an enclosed place - Rhizopus stolonifer.
 

Offline rosy

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Is eating mouldy bread bad?
« Reply #3 on: 15/12/2008 16:50:41 »
One of my medicinal chemistry lecturers harped on for some minutes during a third year (or maybe 4th year) lecture about the perils of one particular type of bread mould and how little of it was required to cause liver cancer. I now forget the name of the mould (if I ever knew it) so can't look up how common it is.
 

Offline rosy

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Is eating mouldy bread bad?
« Reply #4 on: 15/12/2008 17:01:56 »
But the magic of google is such that I googled "bread mould liver cancer" and found a post I wrote on another website when the lecture was less of a distant memory, and apparently the toxin is aflatoxin and the moulds implicated are various forms of Aspergillus

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aflatoxin
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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Is eating mouldy bread bad?
« Reply #5 on: 16/12/2008 15:03:23 »
So are the toxins heat stable?
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Is eating mouldy bread bad?
« Reply #6 on: 16/12/2008 19:06:13 »
Some are.
That ,means that, unless you are a good enough mycologist to know that the mould doesn't make toxicns or a good enough chemist to verify that they have been destroyed, it's a good idea not to eat mouldy food.

(especially that godforsaken cheese IMHO)
 

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Is eating mouldy bread bad?
« Reply #6 on: 16/12/2008 19:06:13 »

 

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