[NAFEX] Choke Cherries, cyanide, etc.

list at ginda.us list at ginda.us
Thu Feb 26 23:06:31 EST 2004


Right.  If you eat a lot at once, it will kill you.  But if you eat a 
little at a time, and are otherwise healthy and well fed, you can 
metabolize it.  (Like alcohol, I suppose, but more toxic.)   I think I 
once read an article about how cyanide can be a cumulative toxin in 
people who are protein-deprived, but that's probably not a problem for 
most NAFEXers.

Lots of other animals and beasties can metabolize small quantities, too 
- I wonder if fermentation reduces the cyanide levels?  I know that 
cooking in an open container does.

Ginda

On Feb 26, 2004, at 1:11 PM, Bill Russell wrote:

> Right. Cyanide is not a cumulative toxin.
>
> Bill
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Lucky Pittman" <lucky.pittman at murraystate.edu>
> To: "longdistshtr" <longdistshtr at shtc.net>; "North American Fruit 
> Explorers"
> <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Thursday, February 26, 2004 6:36 AM
> Subject: [NAFEX] Choke Cherries, cyanide, etc.
>
>
>> At 10:25 PM 2/25/2004 -0500, Doc L wrote:
>>> They are pest trees here, kinda like Sweet Gums which Lucky Pittman
> abhors.
>> Indeed, I do.  Would much prefer hawthorns, which I could use as
> rootstocks
>> for pears & quinces.
>>
>> I'm neither a chemist nor a toxicologist, but deal with the cyanide 
>> issue
>> in livestock on a regular basis.  Cherry leaves are most toxic in the
>> wilted state - I've seen cows eat them fresh and green off the tree, 
>> and
>> they'll vaccuum up the yellow senescent leaves that drop off from 
>> time to
>> time throughout the season - with no ill effects.  It may be that the
> fresh
>> green leaves are toxic as well as the wilted ones, but that the 
>> animals
>> aren't usually able to access them in the large amounts that 
>> precipitate
>> death like when people inadvisedly pitch big piles of prunings over 
>> the
>> fence to them or a storm comes through and blows trees over or splits 
>> big
>> limbs off - at which time the cows/goats/sheep mob around 'em and 
>> race to
>> see who can eat the most leaves.  Japanese yew prunings do a very
> efficient
>> job of killing cattle, as well, due to their high cyanogenic 
>> potential.
>>
>> Prunus spp. leaves contain cyanogenic glucosides and enzymes which 
>> alter
>> those glucosides, but in normal, undamaged leaves, they're contained 
>> in
>> separate cells.  When the leaves are damaged - freezing, wilting, 
>> chewing,
>> etc, this allows the chemical reaction to take place between the 
>> enzymes
>> and the cyanogenic glucosides, liberating cyanide, which can then be 
>> taken
>> up into the bloodstream, where it binds to hemoglobin in the 
>> erythrocytes,
>> interfering with its capability to carry oxygen.
>>
>> On the subject of cyanide in the seeds or a cherry leaf in my jam or 
>> wine,
>> personally, I wouldn't have too much concern about it - wouldn't even 
>> be
>> concerned with crushing seeds in the process of making jelly or
>> wine.  HCN(hydrogen cyanide) is volatile, and any that might be 
>> liberated
>> would probably dissipate harmlessly into the atmosphere during the 
>> course
>> of canning, fermentation, or storage, for that matter.
>> I wouldn't want to sit down and eat a big bowl of cracked chokecherry
> pits,
>> though.
>>
>> For more info on prussic acid poisoning, have a look at the following
>> extension bulletin:
>> http://ianrpubs.unl.edu/range/g775.htm#what
>>
>>
>>
>> Lucky Pittman
>> USDA Zone 6
>> Hopkinsville, KY
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> nafex mailing list
>> nafex at lists.ibiblio.org
>>
>> To subscribe or unsubscribe, go to the bottom of this page (also can 
>> be
> used to change other email options):
>> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/nafex
>>
>> File attachments are NOT stripped by this list
>> TAKE STEPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM COMPUTER VIRUSES!
>> Please do not send binary files.
>> Use plain text ONLY in emails!
>>
>> Message archives are here:
>> http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/nafex
>>
>> NAFEX web site:   http://www.nafex.org/
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> nafex mailing list
> nafex at lists.ibiblio.org
>
> To subscribe or unsubscribe, go to the bottom of this page (also can 
> be used to change other email options):
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/nafex
>
> File attachments are NOT stripped by this list
> TAKE STEPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM COMPUTER VIRUSES!
> Please do not send binary files.
> Use plain text ONLY in emails!
>
> Message archives are here:
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/nafex
>
> NAFEX web site:   http://www.nafex.org/
>




More information about the nafex mailing list