Aspergillus clavatus intoxication is a highly fatal neuromycotoxicosis of ruminants, especially
cattle. It is caused by the ingestion of infected sprouting grain and sorghum beer residue.
Locomotor disturbances, tremors and paralysis are observed. Histologically, degeneration
and necrosis of larger neurons in the medulla oblongata, the midbrain, the thalamus and the
ventral horns of the spinal cord are observed. Although a range of mycotoxins such as patulin,
cytochalasin E and pseurotin A have been isolated, there is limited information on which specific
mycotoxin or group of mycotoxins are involved during outbreaks of intoxication in livestock.
In the present study, two outbreaks of A. clavatus poisoning in cattle are briefly described. Feed
samples were collected for fungal identification, and culture and multitoxin analysis. A range of
fungal metabolites were detected, and the estimated concentrations (μg/kg) are provided. Both
the sprouting barley and brewer’s grain were predominantly infected with A. clavatus and, to a
lesser extent, Rhizopus arrhizus. The only common Aspergillus secondary metabolite present in all
the samples was pseurotin A. Patulin and cytochalasin E were present in the sprouting barley
samples, as well as the A. clavatus isolates cultured on malt extract agar for 2 weeks; however,
neither of these mycotoxins could be detected in the brewer’s grain sample.