The Poisons Collection: Killer Potatoes

Yes its back, back again. The poisons collection makes a triumphant return with potatoes? Potatoes come from the nightshade family or Solanaceaea, which we’ve come across before in this collection in the form of deadly nightshade. What you may not no is that all members of this family contain the chemical Solanine. It occurs in all parts of the plant and is a defence mechanism. For example in potatoes (to be exact the tuber of the potato plant) when exposed to light they go green because of this to prevent animals from eating it.

Solanine is a glycoalkaloid which is poisonous to humans. Symptoms of Solanine poisoning include:

  • Vomiting
  • Stomach or abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Delirium
  • Dilated pupils
  • Hallucinations

As well as others… It’s not necessarily lethal but there are some cases of it. Back to the point of the question though are potatoes poisonous. Well no, if you were to eat a raw potato, particularly a green one you may feel a little sick afterwards. However, by cooking potatoes this destroys part of the poison. Crop growers also test to see how much solanine is in the potatoes they produce. Just don’t go eating raw potatoes and you’ll be fine!

Hope you’ve enjoyed this episode and happy BEDA!

ThatBiologist Everywhere!

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