Chapter 19 : Naturally Occurring Toxins in Plants

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This chapter discusses naturally occurring toxins that have been associated with the consumption of foods. The toxicity associated with ackee fruit () is due to the extremely high amounts of hypoglycin A that is present in the unripe arils (the extra seed covering) of ackee fruit. The plant part of that is consumed is known botanically as an aril. Treatment of poisoning with ackee involves management of hypoglycemia. Proteinase inhibitors are plant, bacterial, and animal proteins that inhibit the activities of proteinases, resulting in impaired protein digestion and nutritional deficiencies in animals. Tannins are present in a number of foods, including dry beans, green peas, cereal products, leafy and green vegetables, tea, coffee, and wine. Cassava is almost always peeled, as some of the highest concentrations of cyanogens are located in the “skin” of the root. The only safe measure for sensitive individuals to avoid the toxic effects of fava beans remains to avoid “favic” agents. The chapter covers very briefly a few naturally occurring toxicants primarily from food plant sources. A clear delineation of food safety cannot be established without a comprehensive understanding of the nature and mechanism of action of each potential toxicant and the biological distinctiveness of the individual consuming it.

Citation: Ottesen A, Magnuson B. 2010. Naturally Occurring Toxins in Plants, p 301-313. In Juneja V, Sofos J (ed), Pathogens and Toxins in Foods. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815936.ch19

Key Concept Ranking

Acyl Coenzyme A
Flowering Plants
Food Safety
Hydrogen Cyanide
Scanning Electron Microscopy
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Table 1.

Selected compounds

Citation: Ottesen A, Magnuson B. 2010. Naturally Occurring Toxins in Plants, p 301-313. In Juneja V, Sofos J (ed), Pathogens and Toxins in Foods. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815936.ch19
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Table 2.

Cyanogens in foods

Citation: Ottesen A, Magnuson B. 2010. Naturally Occurring Toxins in Plants, p 301-313. In Juneja V, Sofos J (ed), Pathogens and Toxins in Foods. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815936.ch19
Generic image for table
Table 3.

Cyanide as HCN in foods

Citation: Ottesen A, Magnuson B. 2010. Naturally Occurring Toxins in Plants, p 301-313. In Juneja V, Sofos J (ed), Pathogens and Toxins in Foods. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815936.ch19

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