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Natural pesticides and bioactive components in foods.

Abstract

In this review, some common food plants and their toxic or otherwise bioactive components and mycotoxin contaminants have been considered. Crucifers contain naturally occurring components that are goitrogenic, resulting from the combined action of allyl isothiocyanate, goitrin, and thiocyanate. Although crucifers may provide some protection from cancer when taken prior to a carcinogen, when taken after a carcinogen they act as promoters of carcinogenesis. The acid-condensed mixture of indole-3-carbinol (a component of crucifers) binds to the TCDD receptor and causes responses similar to those of TCDD. Herbs contain many biologically active components, with more than 20% of the commercially prepared human drugs coming from these plants. Onion and garlic juices can help to prevent the rise of serum cholesterol. Most herbs used in treatments may have many natural constituents that act oppositely from their intended use. Some herbs like Bishop's week seed contain carcinogens, and many contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids that can cause cirrhosis of the liver. The general phytoalexin response in plants (including potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, celery, and sweet potatoes) induced by external stimuli can increase the concentrations of toxic chemical constituents in those plants. In potatoes, two major indigenous compounds are alpha-solanine and alpha-chaconine, which are human plasma cholinesterase inhibitors and teratogens in animals. Because of its toxicity, the potato variety Lenape was withdrawn from the market. Celery, parsley, and parsnips contain the linear furanocoumarin phytoalexins psoralen, bergapten, and xanthotoxin that can cause photosensitization and also are photomutagenic and photocarcinogenic. Celery field workers and handlers continually have photosensitization problems as a result of these indigenous celery furanocoumarins. A new celery cultivar (a result of plant breeding to produce a more pest-resistant variety) was responsible for significant incidences of phytophotodermatitis of grocery employees. Since there is no regulatory agency or body designated to oversee potential toxicological issues associated with naturally occurring toxicants, photodermatitis continues to occur from celery exposure. Sweet potatoes contain phytoalexins that can cause lung edema and are hepatotoxic to mice. At least one of these, 4-ipomeanol, can cause extensive lung clara cell necrosis and can increase the severity of pneumonia in mice. Some phytoalexins in sweet potatoes are hepatotoxic and nephrotoxic to mice. The common mushroom Agaricus bisporus contains benzyl alcohol as its most abundant volatile, and A. bisporus and Gyromitra esculenta both contain hydrazine analogues. Mycotoxins are found in corn, cottonseed, fruits, grains, grain sorghums, and nuts (especially peanuts); therefore, they also occur in apple juice, bread, peanut butter, and other products made from contaminated starting materials.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

PMID:
2404325
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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