Biological toxins are poisonous substances produced by certain microorganisms, animals, insects, and plants. They can be harmful when inhaled, ingested, injected, or absorbed.
Biological toxins cause diverse toxic effects that can range from relatively minor (skin or eye irritation, headache, nausea) to severe (respiratory distress, muscle weakness, seizures, death). Many biological toxins are highly toxic or fatal even in small quantities (e.g., nanogram amounts) and they are often more toxic than many chemicals.
Numerous biological toxins have been identified with nine of them being on the HHS and USDA Select Agents and Toxins List that includes biological agents and toxins that have the potential to pose a severe threat to both human and animal health, to plant health, or to animal and plant products.
These include botulinum neurotoxins, abrin, paralytic alpha conotoxins, diacetoxyscirpenol, ricin, saxitoxin, staphylococcal enterotoxins (subtypes A–E), T-2 toxin, and tetrodotoxin. Biological toxins on the select agent list require registration with the Federal […]