The key difference between aspergillosis and aflatoxicosis is that aspergillosis is a disease caused by Aspergillus fungal species and occurs when we inhale spores. Meanwhile, aflatoxicosis is a disease caused by the consumption of aflatoxin, which is a poisonous mycotoxin produced by specific Aspergillus species.
Aspergillus is a genus of filamentous fungi that comprises of a few hundred species worldwide. These fungi can be found in various types of habitats including soil, plants, animal and water. Aspergillus species are different in size, colour and growth rate, but they show similar characteristics under the microscope. Moreover, their hyphae are hyaline and septate.
Aspergillus produces asci bearing eight ascospores within each ascus. Aspergillus spores are present in indoor and outdoor air. It is a very common fungus everywhere. Though people inhale Aspergillus spores, it doesn’t cause serious illnesses. However, some species such as Aspergillus fumigates, Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus terreus are infectious. Among different diseases, aspergillosis and aflatoxicosis are two serious diseases caused by Aspergillus species.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Aspergillosis
3. What is Aflatoxicosis
4. Similarities Between Aspergillosis and Aflatoxicosis
5. Side by Side Comparison – Aspergillosis vs Aflatoxicosis in Tabular Form
What is Aspergillosis?
In healthy individuals, Aspergillus spores do not cause serious illnesses. However, when the immune system weakens, and a person is suffering from lung diseases, these spores can cause several health problems such as allergic reactions and lung infections. Aspergillosis is a disease that arises due to inhaling Aspergillus spores. When an immunocompromised person or a person suffering from a chronic lung disease breathe spores, they germinate and invade the lungs and spread throughout the body, and thus, causing aspergillosis. Moreover, cancer patients, those undergoing chemotherapy, those suffering from HIV infection, and those who have undergone an organ transplant show a higher chance of getting aspergillosis.
There are different types of aspergillosis. Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis is one type which causes wheezing and coughing. Invasive aspergillosis is another type which causes tissue damages; it especially affects lung tissues. Moreover, hypersensitivity pneumonitis is another form which is responsible for an allergic reaction leading to shortness of breath and coughing. Antifungal drugs such as voriconazole, amphotericin B, caspofungin, itraconazole, and posaconazole are the best treatment for aspergillosis.
What is Aflatoxicosis?
Aflatoxin is one of the most poisonous mycotoxins produced by Aspergillus species. Aflatoxins are commonly found in many food varieties, including cereals (corn, sorghum, wheat and rice), oilseeds (soybean, peanut, sunflower and cotton seeds), spices (chilli peppers, black pepper, coriander, turmeric and ginger) and tree nuts (pistachio, almond, walnut, coconut and Brazil nut). Aspergillus species such as Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus produce most poisonous aflatoxins.
There are four major types of aflatoxins as B1, B2, G1, and G2. Among them, aflatoxin B1 is the most potent natural carcinogen. Aflatoxicosis is a disease caused by aflatoxin consumption. In fact, it is the state of acute poisoning of aflatoxins which can cause liver damages and end up in death. They can also damage DNA and can cause cancers such as liver cancers, etc. They can cause immune suppression, as well.
What are the Similarities Between Aspergillosis and Aflatoxicosis?
- Aspergillosis and aflatoxicosis are two types of diseases caused by Aspergillus
- Both diseases can be prevented or treated by antifungal drugs.
- Aspergillus infections can cause cancers, as well.
What is the Difference Between Aspergillosis and Aflatoxicosis?
Aspergillosis is a disease that arises due to inhaling of Aspergillus spores. Aflatoxicosis is a disease caused by aflatoxin consumption. So, this is the key difference between aspergillosis and aflatoxicosis.
Moreover, spores are responsible for aspergillosis while mycotoxin aflatoxins are responsible for aflatoxicosis. Besides, aspergillosis mainly affects lung tissues, while aflatoxicosis mainly affects the liver. So, this is another difference between aspergillosis and aflatoxicosis.
Summary – Aspergillosis vs Aflatoxicosis
Aspergillosis is an infection of the lungs, caused by the spores of fungus Aspergillus. Meanwhile, aflatoxicosis is a disease caused by a mycotoxin called aflatoxin produced by certain Aspergillus species. So this is the key difference between aspergillosis and aflatoxicosis. Compared to aspergillosis, aflatoxicosis is a chronic disease which can lead even to the death of the patient.
1. “Aspergillus spores 160X” By Ninjatacoshell – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “(–)-Aflatoxin M1 Structural Formulae V.1” By Dharminderhundal11 – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia