Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Regulation Urged for Liver Toxin in Honey, Pollen

Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids (PAs) in Honey and Pollen
Legal Regulation of PA Levels in Food and Animal Feed Required
Mol Nutr Food Res, Early View

Pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) are secondary plant constituents that comprise about 400 different structures and occur in two major forms, a tertiary form and the corresponding N-oxide. PAs containing a 1,2-double bond are pre-toxins and metabolically activated by the action of hepatic P-450 enzymes to toxic pyrroles.

Besides the acute toxic effects, the genotoxic and tumorigenicity potential of PAs was demonstrated in some eukaryotic model systems. Recently, the potential PA contamination of food and feeding stuff attracted recurrent great deals of attention. Humans are exposed to these toxins by consumption of herbal medicine, herbal teas, dietary supplements or food containing PA plant material. In numerous studies the potential threat to human health by PAs is stated. In pharmaceuticals, the use of these plants is regulated.

Considering the PA concentrations observed especially in authentic honey from PA producing plants and pollen products, the results provoke an international regulation of PAs in food.

Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids in Pollen and Pollen Products
Mol Nutr Food Res, Early View

Recently, 1,2-dehydropyrrolizidine alkaloid (PA) ester alkaloids, found predominantly as their N-oxides (PANOs, pyrrolizidine N-oxides), have been reported in both honey and in pollen obtained directly from PA plants and pollen loads collected by bees, raising the possibility of health risks for consumers of these products.

We confirm these findings in regard to floral pollen, using pollen collected directly from flowers of the known PA plants Senecio jacobaea, S. vernalis, Echium vulgare and pollinia of Phalaenopsis hybrids, and we extend analyses of 1,2-unsaturated PAs and 1,2-unsaturated PANOs to include bee-pollen products currently being sold in supermarkets and on the Internet as food supplements…

In total, 55 commercially available pollen products were analyzed. Seventeen (31%) samples contained 1,2-unsaturated PAs in the range from 1.08 to 16.35 mug/g, calculated as retronecine equivalents. The 1,2-unsaturated PA content of pollen products is expressed in terms of a single sum parameter and no background information such as foraged plants, pollen analysis, etc. was needed to analyze the samples. The detection limit of overall procedure and the reliable quantitation limit were 0.003 and 0.01 mug/g, respectively.

No comments: