The sixth volume in the series Medicinal and Aromatic Plants -Industrial Profiles, written by experts working in ergot research. Ergot (claviceps purpura) is best known as a disease of rye and grasses. it is probably the most widely cultivated fungus and it has become an important field crop. Ergot alkaloids, which are extensively used in medicine, are the main reason for its importance. This work begins with the history of ergot research which is comparable to that of the discovery of penicillin. review articles on claviceps taxonomy, genetics, biogenetic and pharmacology are based on recent achievements in molecular biology - some of them published there for the first time. The chapters on ergot cultivation, physiology and biotechnology are written by experts in industry. Sections dealing with the chemistry of ergot alkaloids and biotransformation are comprehensive and serve as good reference material. Unique information on world producers and industrial production of ergot alkaloids and their derivatives is detailed. The therapeutic use of ergot alkaloids is presented; and the dangers of their use in ecology and agriculture are discussed in detail.