Ergot: The Fungi & The Alkaloids
Listen now
Ergot describes a group of fungi with powerful alkaloids. So powerful, that they have historical impact in history, medicine, and possibly religion. It's famous for the morbid poisoning in humans, for catalyzing the synthesis of LSD,  and its potential role in ancient ceremony. Today we are honored to speak with Dr. Daniel Panaccione, who is one of few ergot alkaloid specialists. Having studied their biosynthesis and genetics, he is a true expert on their chemical matters. Dr. Panaccione is a professor of plant and soil sciences at West Virginia University where he works on genetic manipulation and chemical analyses to understand underlying genes of ergot alkaloids and reconstruct its pathways. Topics Covered Defining Ergot species & their respective metabolitesLife cycle of Claviceps purpurea and it's ecological rolesHow an ergot fungus may be behind the Salem Witch Trials and other historical eventsSynthesis of ergot alkaloid-based drugs and medicinesMechanisms of action with ergot alkaloids in the human bodyDEA regulation on ergot alkaloids and like compoundsEvolution of ergot alkaloid producing fungiPotential and unlikely organisms that contain ergot alkaloidsThe inadvertent discovery of LSDPharmacology of ergot alkaloids: challenges, history, methods and R&D Show notes Dr. Panaccione's WVU profile: Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia feat. Ergot and Dr. Panaccione: Ergot Museum: Linnda Caporael's report on the Salem Witch Trials: Growing Ergot: Life Cycle of Ergot: Structure of Ergot Alkaloids: Suggestive reports on Ergot in Sumerian Clay Tablets, Mesopotamian Temples, and Chinese literature: The Immortality Key — How ergot may be involved in religious influence: Ergot as an ingredient in the Kykeon: Downloadable literature:
More Episodes
Where is psilocybin headed? Recent societal vindication of psilocybin and other psychedelic therapies are paving a prominent future for these substances, especially in psychiatric therapy. But how do we navigate this resurgence for the better? What conversations should be had, what questions...
Published 07/27/21
How did multicellular life evolve? We don’t know! However, fungi are helping us develop ideas about the emergence of complex life. Today we are joined by Dr. William Ratcliff, who has successfully induced naturally unicellular yeast to evolve into multicellular ‘snowflake yeasts’ in his lab at...
Published 07/21/21
Love chocolate? You have fungi to thank for that! On today's show we are walking you through the complex journey between the cocoa bean and a chocolate bar.  The unmatchable decadence is achieved by unique fermentation methods and microbes. Yeast, filamentous fungi, and bacteria are all at play...
Published 07/13/21