- Captain Bob's food rules for a long life:
- Never buy ice-cream of a brand that you didn't recognise
- peel apples before eating
- If living in Malta wash all the fresh fruit and veg in dilute potassium permanganate to kill the coliforms
- always finish the jar of Shippam's paste at one sitting
- it would go 'off' quickly after opening without a fridge
- green potatoes are a source of ptomaine poisoning.
Ptomaine is a grab-bag term for amine chemicals produced by certain bacteria as they work on dead things. Putrescine and cadavarine are two members of the family and you may guess where these compounds were first isolated. For years these products of pathogenic bacteria was seen as the cause of poisoning from eating old meat, furry vegetables and green potatoes rather than rampant bacterial growth in the gut and the reactions <flush flush> of the immune system.
*- "steroidal" because they incorporate the four rings of sterol found also in cholesterol, plant stannol esters and our mammalian sex hormones.
*- "glyco" from the three hexagonal ring structures clagged on to the right-hand end of the sterol chunk. Note this end is where the two molecules differ. I'll leave you to find a 10 y.o. to play spot the difference between them.
*- "alkaloid" is a class of nitrogenous organic compounds of plant origin which have detectable physiological actions on humans. They are a subset of 'plant secondary compounds' which have supplied Pharma and shaman with many useful products. None of these compounds evolved because they provided drugs, medical and recreational, for people but because they messed over potential grazers in many weird and wonderful ways.
What to expect if you eat enough: vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, paralysis of the central nervous system.
How much is enough? 40mg /100g of potato = 400ppm. That's a lot less lethal than Sarin but can still make your feel crook for while and has been fatal in some cases. Read all about it in Smithsonian.
Why R I on a solanine jag? Because the family descended on us over the weekend [from W: Cork, E: Bath and N: Dublin] and someone bought a large bag of Tayto Bistro Crushed sea salt and aged vinegar potato crisps which soon disappeared - there were 8 adults and 2 children present - except that everyone left the green chips [R] on the side of their plate. It's a case of paraphrasing Lady Bracknell "To get one green crisp, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to get a dozen looks like carelessness". I shall write to Mr Tayto to point out this QC failure. Of course, we could just suck it up but I get riled by nonsense labelling like "Gluten Free" on the front of these crisps as if potatoes would ever have any gluten in them. Like Fat Free Porridge Oats - about which I fulminated a few years ago. Never mind the gluten, Mr Tayto, can you assure us that there are no neurotoxins in your product? Imagine if we'd been eating these crisps while watching a movie - we might have consumed the green ones [and the solanine] as we blindly transported them from bag to gob without scrutiny.