/err"geuht, -got/, n.1. Plant Pathol.a. a disease of rye and other cereal grasses, caused by a fungus of the genus Claviceps, esp. C. purpurea, which replaces the affected grain with a long, hard, blackish sclerotial body.b. the sclerotial body itself.2. Pharm. the dried sclerotium of C. purpurea, developed on rye plants: used in the production of ergotamine and ergotoxine.
* * *An ear of rye infected with ergot exudes a sweet, yellowish mucus. Ergot is the source of drugs used to control postpartum hemorrhage and to treat migraine headaches. Lysergic acid, from which the powerful hallucinogen LSD is synthesized, comes from ergot. Taking an overdose of ergot-derived medications or eating flour milled from ergot-infected rye can cause ergotism (also called St. Anthony's Fire) in humans and livestock; symptoms may include convulsions, miscarriages in females, and dry gangrene, and may result in death.
* * *fungal disease of cereal grasses, especially rye, caused by the ascomycete fungus Claviceps purpurea. In an ear of rye infected with ergot, a sweet, yellowish mucus is exuded for a time, followed by a loss of starch as the ear ceases growth. The ovaries then become permeated by the mycelium, a mass of fungal filaments, which in autumn forms the spur-like purple-black sclerotium.The sclerotium constitutes the source of the drugs ergonovine, which is used in obstetrics to control postpartum hemorrhage, and ergotamine, which is used in treating migraine headaches. After an overdose of medications derived from ergot or after eating flour milled from ergot-infected rye, humans and livestock may develop ergotism, a condition sometimes called St. Anthony's Fire. The symptoms may include convulsions, miscarriages in females, and dry gangrene and may result in death. Ergot is also the source of lysergic acid, from which the powerful hallucinogen lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is easily synthesized.
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