Mycotoxin Research

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 297–305 | Cite as

Biological activity of Claviceps gigantea in juvenile New Zealand rabbits

  • Alma Rosa Solano-Báez
  • Juan Manuel Cuca-García
  • Adriana Delgado-Alvarado
  • Daniel Panaccione
  • Carlos De León-García de AlbaEmail author
  • Santos Gerardo Leyva-Mir
  • Jesús Ricardo Sánchez-Pale
  • Javier Hernández-Morales
Original Article


The Ascomycete fungus Claviceps gigantea infects maize kernels and synthetizes several alkaloids, mostly dihydrolysergamides. There is limited information on the damage these toxins cause in mammals, despite reports from infested areas with 90% presence of the fungus sclerotia. With this background, it was decided to determine the biological activity of chemical compounds present in sclerotia of C. gigantea in rabbits 38 days after weaning. Sclerotia of C. gigantea were collected in fields with high incidence of the disease, ground and analysed for nutrients. Experimental diets were prepared with four treatments, where sclerotial powder was added, substituting for alfalfa flour in increasing proportions [C. gigantea/alfalfa flour (0:100, 5:95, 15:85 and 25:75)]. Total ergot alkaloid content was analysed by high-performance liquid chromatography. Male juvenile rabbits were utilised and distributed in completely randomised design with four replications. Initial weight was recorded in each animal, and experimental diet was offered. In this study, weight of animals, feed consumption and feed conversion were evaluated in individual animals. Blood samples were taken for haemograms, and finally euthanasia was practiced. The consumption of C. gigantea had a negative effect on body weight and feed consumption. The necropsies showed anomalies proportional to the consumption of feed contaminated with the fungus.


Ergot-maize Ergot-nutrients Clavines Ergot-juvenile rabbits 



The first author thanks the National Council on Science and Technology (CONACYT) for scholarship 214704.

We thank Dr. Ernesto Avila González for amino acid analysis and facilities for pelleting, Morislav Flieger for facilities on HPLC analysis and M. Sc Guillermo Márquez Licona for technical assistance during this research.

Compliance with ethical standards

The authors have no financial relationship with CONACYT funding agency.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Society for Mycotoxin Research and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alma Rosa Solano-Báez
    • 1
  • Juan Manuel Cuca-García
    • 1
  • Adriana Delgado-Alvarado
    • 2
  • Daniel Panaccione
    • 3
  • Carlos De León-García de Alba
    • 1
    Email author
  • Santos Gerardo Leyva-Mir
    • 4
  • Jesús Ricardo Sánchez-Pale
    • 5
  • Javier Hernández-Morales
    • 1
  1. 1.Colegio de Postgraduados, Campus Montecillo, Plant PathologyTexcocoMexico
  2. 2.Colegio de Postgraduados, Campus Puebla, Strategies for Regional Agricultural DevelopmentPueblaMexico
  3. 3.Division of Plant and Soil Sciences, Genetic and Developmental Biology ProgramWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA
  4. 4.Departamento de Parasitología AgrícolaUniversidad Autónoma ChapingoTexcocoMexico
  5. 5.Univ. Autónoma del Estado de Mexico, Campus El cerillo, Facultad de Ciencias AgrícolasTolucaMexico

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