A bacterium or fungus that lives within infected plants.

Ergot alkaloids

Mycotoxins formed by Neotyphodium species, ergovaline and ergovalinine are the most common toxins. Others include ergine, erginine and clavine alkaloids such as argoclavine. These toxins are found in fescue that is infected with Neotyphodium species, however these toxins are less toxic to animals. Neotyphodium species are also capable of producing lolitrem B, which does cause issues to livestock when ingested (see ryegrass staggers).


A disease of animals and humans, caused by the ingestion of rye or cereal grains contaminated with Claviceps purpurea, which produce ergot alkaloids. Cattle are the species most at risk. Symptoms include, ataxia, hypersensitivity, convulsions, gangrene, loss of weight, agalactia, lameness and abortion.


A toxin that causes ‘fescue foot’ in cattle due to its vasconstrictive properties. Produced by various endophytes.