Molecular characterization of high affinity, high capacity clays for the equilibrium sorption of ergotamine Academic Article uri icon


  • Ergot alkaloids (mycotoxins) produced by Claviceps and Neotyphodium species of fungi may contaminate animal feedstuffs and results in disease in livestock. In this study, diverse phyllosilicate clays and other adsorbent materials, differing in chemical and structural characteristics, were tested for their ability to sorb ergotamine, a prevalent ergot mycotoxin, from acidic solution. Results indicated minimal binding to those sorbents possessing low surface area, cation exchange capacity and inaccessible interlayer regions. Cetyl pyridinium-exchanged montmorillonite (organoclay) exhibited decreased propensity for ergotamine in acidic solution as compared with the unexchanged hydrophilic parent clay. The highest ergotamine sorption was observed with cation exchanged montmorillonite clays; whereas, when collapsed, these same clays sorbed very little ligand. Based on initial binding experiments, calcium and sodium montmorillonite clays were prioritized for further characterization, including: capacity, affinity, and heat (enthalpy) of adsorption. Computer models of energy-minimized ergotamine isomers and clay were used to illustrate possible mechanisms of ergot alkaloid sorption at interlayer sites. Additional studies are warranted to assess the stability of ergot alkaloid/clay complexes under alkaline conditions to further understand the mechanism of adsorption.

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Huebner, H. J., Lemke, S. L., Ottinger, S. E., Mayura, K., & Phillips, T. D.

citation count

  • 22

complete list of authors

  • Huebner, HJ||Lemke, SL||Ottinger, SE||Mayura, K||Phillips, TD

publication date

  • April 1999