Science Questions

Are green potatoes poisonous or is this a myth?

Sun, 12th Oct 2008

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Question

Lez, Over asked:

Are green potatoes poisonous or is this a myth?

 

Answer

Chris - Yes, they are. Potatoes actually entirely are poisonous. They are a member of a family called the solanaceae. They make a toxin which is a neurotoxin called solanine. If you eat 5 kilos of potatoes that's actually a fatal dose. Watch it Kat, next time you're feeling peckish...The solanine tends to concentrate in the areas that are exposed. Those areas give a sort of traffic light that they've been exposed. They go green because they've been exposed to light and that's chlorophyll. It's not the greenness that's bad for you. It's the fact that potatoes that are exposed to light make this because solanine was always poisonous to pests. It's the potato's way of protecting itself. It's just worse for them than it is for us. By making solanine they can stop themselves being eaten, especially if they're exposed to the sun. If you see a green potato it's got these glyco-alkeloids (solanine) and it could poison you. Stay away from 5 kilos-worth and you'll probably be OK!

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