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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 39

of 'Potentially toxic plant ingestions in children: Clinical manifestations and evaluation'

An outbreak of suspected solanine poisoning in schoolboys: Examinations of criteria of solanine poisoning.
McMillan M, Thompson JC
Q J Med. 1979;48(190):227.
Seventy eight schoolboys became ill after eating potato at lunch on the second day of the autumn term. Seventeen of the boys required admission to hospital. The gastrointestinal, circulatory, neurological and dermatological findings and the results of laboratory investigations were in keeping with solanine poisoning. The illness affected the junior boys and all the monitors but no other senior boys or staff. This pattern was compatible with the consumption of a relatively small number of toxic potatoes believed to have come from a bag (A) left in the stores since the summer term. The amount of solanine in potato waste recovered after the meal was excessive as assessed by its anticholinesterase activity. The amount of alpha-solanine and alpha-chaconine in the flesh and peel of potatoes from a bag (B) known to have been left from the previous term was high. The anomalously narrow margin between the solanidine alkaloid content reported for normal and toxic potatoes might perhaps result from an excessive synthesis by the latter of additional, related steroids, such as sapogenins and saponins, which, by promoting gastrointestinal absorption or other means, might enhance the toxicity of solanidine alkaloid.