One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Any of a class of toxic compounds that are produced by certain molds found in food, and can cause liver damage and cancer.
- ‘Several varieties of the mould Aspergillus produce a group of carcinogens called aflatoxins, which cause liver injury and cancer.’
- ‘Staple foods in the developing world, particularly maize and groundnuts, are often contaminated with aflatoxins, metabolites of Aspergillus species.’
- ‘One family of mycotoxins, the aflatoxins, are carcinogenic and immunotoxic and cause growth retardation in animals.’
- ‘Excessive absorption of the naturally-occurring aflatoxin can lead to liver damage in the long term, said Food and Environmental Hygiene Department officials.’
- ‘The most potent human carcinogen known is the mycotoxin aflatoxin, and it is certainly not an artificial chemical.’
1960s: from elements of the modern Latin taxonomic name Aspergillus flavus + toxin.
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