Ergot
Ergot could be called a "cereal killer" for it comes from cereals such as rye and wheat and is quite capable of killing someone. A fungus (Claviceps purpurea) that contaminates rye and wheat produces substances (alkaloids) termed ergotamines. Ergotamines constrict blood vessels and cause the muscle of the uterus to contract. They have been much used and been very useful for the treatment of migraine. They have also been used and misused as abortifacients (agents of abortion). In excess, however, ergotamines can cause symptoms such as hallucinations, severe gastrointestinal upset, a type of dry gangrene, and a painful burning sensation in the limbs and extremities. Chronic ergot poisoning (ergotism) was rife during the Middle Ages due to the consumption of contaminated rye. Because of the burning pain, it was known as "ignis sacer" (holy fire), "ignis infernalis" (hell's fire) and St. Anthony's fire. For more about this fascinating disease, see our article on St. Anthony's Fire — Ergotism .
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The resistant, overwintering stage of the parasitic ascomycetous fungus Claviceps purpurea, a pathogen of rye grass that transforms the seed of rye into a compact spurlike mass of fungal pseudotissue (the sclerotium) containing five or more optically isomeric pairs of alkaloids. The levorotary isomers induce uterine contractions, control bleeding, and alleviate certain localized vascular disorders (migraine headaches). SEE ALSO: ergotism. SYN: rye smut. [O. Fr. argot, cock's spur]
- corn e. SYN: Ustilago maydis.

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er·got 'ər-gət, -.gät n
1 a) the black or dark purple sclerotium of fungi of the genus Claviceps that occurs as a club-shaped body which replaces the seed of various grasses (as rye)
b) any fungus of the genus Claviceps
2) a disease of rye and other cereals caused by fungi of the genus Claviceps and characterized by the presence of ergots in the seed heads compare ERGOTISM
3 a) the dried sclerotial bodies of an ergot fungus grown on rye and containing several ergot alkaloids
b) ERGOT ALKALOID
er·got·ic (.)ər-'gät-ik adj

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n.
a fungus (Claviceps purpurea) that grows on rye. It produces several important alkaloids, chemically related to LSD, including ergotamine and ergometrine, which are used in medicine in the treatment of migraine and in childbirth. Eating bread made with rye infected with the fungus has led to sporadic outbreaks of ergotism over the centuries.

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er·got (urґgot) [Fr.; L. ergota] 1. the dried sclerotium of Claviceps purpurea, which is developed on rye plants (Secale cereale); it is the source of the ergot alkaloids (q.v.). 2. a small mass of horn in the tuft of hair at the flexion surface of the fetlock in horses.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Synonyms:

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  • ergot — ergot …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • ergot — [ ɛrgo ] n. m. • argoz plur. 1160; origine inconnue I ♦ Production cornée derrière la patte de quelques animaux. ⇒ éperon. 1 ♦ Chez les gallinacés mâles, Pointe recourbée du tarse, doigt abortif servant d arme offensive. Les ergots du coq. « Le… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • ergot — ergót s. n. Trimis de siveco, 10.08.2004. Sursa: Dicţionar ortografic  ERGÓT s. n. 1. formaţie vegetală parazitară, veninoasă, sub formă de mici puncte pe spicul unor graminee. 2. boală criptogamică a cerealelor (secara), caracterizată prin… …   Dicționar Român

  • ergot — fungal disease of rye and other grasses, 1680s, from Fr. ergot, from O.Fr. argot cock s spur (12c.), of unknown origin. The blight so called from the shape the fungus forms on the diseased grain. Ergotism disease caused by eating ergot infected… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Ergot — Er got, n. [F. ergot, argot, lit., a spur.] 1. A diseased condition of rye and other cereals, in which the grains become black, and often spur shaped. It is caused by a parasitic fungus, {Claviceps purpurea}. [1913 Webster] 2. The mycelium or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ergot — èrgot m DEFINICIJA 1. bot. ražena gljivica 2. pat. guka na koljenu (bolest konja) ETIMOLOGIJA fr. ergot …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • Ergot — Ergot, so v.w. Mutterkorn. Daher Ergotīn, Bestandtheil des Mutterkorns (Secale cornutum) u. wahrscheinlich der narkotisch wirksame. Es ist ein braunrothes, in Äther unlösliches, in Wasser schwer u. in Alkohol leichter lösliches Pulver von bitterm …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Ergot — Ergot, Ergotin, s. Mutterkorn …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • ergot — Ergot, m. acut. voyez Argot et Herigoté …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • ergot — [ʉr′gət, ʉrgät΄] n. [Fr < OFr argot, a rooster s spur, hence (from the shape) the disease growth in the plant] 1. the hard, reddish brown or black, grainlike masses (sclerotia) of certain parasitic fungi (esp. genus Claviceps) that replace the …   English World dictionary

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