Characteristics: Type I allergen, considered pathogenic, and considered toxigenic.
Description: It is often found in soil or as a plant pathogen as a saprophyte or parasite with a pink, orange, or purple coloration. It is disseminated as a wet spore by insects and water or as a dry spore by the wind. For indoor growth this fungus requires very wet conditions. As an allergen, it has been known to cause type I symptoms including hay fever and asthma. As a pathogen, it has been known to cause keratitis, endophthalmitis, onychomycosis, mycetoma, and disseminated infection in immunocompromised patients, infections in burn victims, and systemic opportunistic infections in severely disabled hosts. As a toxigenic agent, it produces trichothecenes (type B), T-2 toxin, zearalenone (F-2 toxin), vomitoxin, deoxynivalenol, and fumonisin. Zearalenone is not acutely toxic, and may actually have positive effects with controlled ingestion. Zearalenone has been patented as a growth stimulant in animals and has application as an oral contraceptive, and as an anabolic steroid.