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Facial eczema is caused by ingestion of the spores of the saprophytic fungus, Pithomyces chartarum, which contains the mycotoxin sporidesmin. Sporidesmin causes liver damage, that results in the photosensitisation lesions characteristic of Facial eczema. Zinc forms a stable mercaptide with sporidesmin, thereby removing the toxin from the autoxidation cycle, that leads to the cascade generation of reactive oxygen radicals that cause cell damage. Zinc may also have a role in antagonising absorption of copper which acts as a catalyst in the liver for the conversion of sporidesmin to the reactive superoxide.