Mycotoxins in Biological Warfare

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Since mold toxins are relatively easy to produce and are among the most toxic substances available, they are very effective in the form of biological warfare. Very strong evidence suggests that use took place on repeated occasions, e.g. in the wars Vietnam (75-81), Kampuchea (79-81) and Afghanistan (79-81). There are also strong suspicions that mold poison was also used in the Gulf War, between Iran and Iraq and also during the US invasion of Iraq.

Mold poison may have been used in war as a biological weaponThe mold poison T-2, Tricothecene and its side effects are estimated within a short time after the attacks to have killed more than 10,000 soldiers and civilians. The number of real deaths is probably far greater than that, as some side effects lead to death after a long illness. As the poisons were spread through the air in a kind of mist or rain, the attacks were given the name "Yellow Rain".

T-2, which comes from the mold species Fusarium, is even more dangerous in contact with the skin than mustard gas and can therefore cause major damage. The poison is also absorbed by the skin. When inhaled, the action of T-2 can be compared to mustard gas.

In order for the poison to be absorbed more easily by the skin, glycols such as propylene glycol or the more toxic ethylene glycol were added in some cases. The glycol acts as an absorbent and draws in moisture from the air at the same time as it breaks surface tension and thus moisturizes the skin and opens the pores so that the mold poison can more easily have its harmful effect directly into the body. Propylene glycol is used today in remediation liquids for mold remediation, as the liquid's above-described properties mean that the effect of the cleaning can penetrate deeper into the material where the mold growth is represented, while the glycol has a mold-inhibiting effect. However, this mold-inhibiting effect does not apply to mold toxins that are left untouched. It should also be mentioned that propylene glycol is found in many dishes and baked goods so that these do not dry out or mold. You have probably wondered at some point why store-bought cakes such as muffins and sponge cake do not dry out or mold over a very long time. This is largely due to the added glycol.

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