What is the poison contained in the potato

In 1840-1844 Russia was overwhelmed by numerous cases of potato tuber poisoning, which was actively imposed by the Russian government in the Siberian, Volga and Ural provinces of the country. It turned out that peasants unknowingly drank green tubers containing the dangerous poison solanine, toxic to animals and humans.
What is solanine and how is it dangerous?
For the first time solanine in potatoes was discovered in 1820. But then the mechanism of its formation was not well studied. Today it is known that solanine is an organic compound contained in all solanaceous. Its concentration is especially high in unripe fruits, as well as in the green parts of plants. Possessing fungicidal and insecticidal properties, solanine protects an immature plant from external pests.
The deadly danger of solanine was discovered quite a long time ago, and therefore, already in the middle of the last century, active work began on the breeding of new potato varieties – with a low content of toxin. The tubers we use today contain a small amount of this toxic substance, and after cleaning it remains even less, since it concentrates mainly in the peel. Heat treatment also contributes to the decomposition of solanine. But some of the toxins can persist after cooking.
Especially it concerns fruits with a greenish peel or internal impregnations. Green hue gives tubers chlorophyll, which is produced under the influence of sunlight. In parallel with this, the reaction of production in solanine tubers also takes place. By the way, similar processes occur in green tomatoes, which are not recommended to be eaten, even after cooking.
How to avoid poisoning?
The concentration of solanine in a mature potato tuber reaches approximately 0.05% of its mass. But in young, green and sprouted potatoes, it can be ten times higher. Also, the concentration of toxin increases 3-5 times with long-term storage of potatoes – usually by the spring months. This is due to the fact that the tubers begin to germinate, namely solanine is concentrated in sprouts. Eating such potatoes in food is absolutely not recommended.
Since the production of toxin occurs under the influence of sunlight, a greater likelihood of poisoning is borne by potatoes, which are kept well washed. Natural pollution of tubers prevents exposure to ultraviolet radiation. And therefore, no matter how unwashed the unwashed potatoes look, it is better to keep them in this form.
It is also recommended to immediately throw away the tubers with green skin or pulp. By the way, a large number of such fruits are formed with the wrong technology of planting – insufficient penetration, when the tubers are formed close to the ground surface. All potatoes, especially young ones, should be pre-peeled and heat treated, since most toxins accumulate in the peel and adjacent layers.
Hazardous factors contributing to the formation of solanine are:
– high concentration of mineral fertilizers in the soil;
– diseases and pests affecting tubers and above-ground parts of the plant;
– long-term storage of tubers and the appearance of germs on them;
– potato variety.
Over time, the breeding characteristics of potatoes deteriorate, it runs wild and accumulates more solanine. Therefore, it is recommended to regularly update the seed fund once every 3-5 years.
Signs of solanine intoxication and first aid
Usually, signs of solanine poisoning appear 1.5–2 hours after it enters the body. The intensity of the symptoms may be different – depending on the amount of toxin. Usually poisoning is manifested by nausea, vomiting, dizziness, diarrhea, palpitations, increased pressure and dry mouth.
At the first signs of intoxication, the victim is recommended to do a gastric lavage and give activated charcoal. It is necessary to consult a doctor, as with a high concentration of solanine in the body, the onset of coma and death are possible.

Show More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button