December 4, 2019

Ptomaine poisoning (food poisoning)

Ptomaine poisoning is a term for food poisoning that is no longer in scientific use; food poisoning was once thought to be caused by ingesting ptomaines.

Ptomaines are chemical compounds of an alkaloidal nature formed in protein substances during the process of putrefaction. Putrefaction is the biochemical process by which all protein matter is reduce to the inorganic state from whence it came, thus completing the life cycle.

Ptomaine poisoning, which occurs only rarely, is caused by compounds that are formed in advance stages of spoilage (the food is putrid), whereas most food poisonings are cause either by bacteria disease or by toxins produced in foods through bacterial growth. In many cases, foods that can cause illness have no outward signs of spoilage.

Most ptomaines are not poisonous, and it is unlikely that many people would eat foods decomposed to this extent. It is probable, therefore that ptomaine poisoning rarely occurs.

The term “ptomaine poisoning” was coined in 1870 to indicate poisoning by a class of chemicals found in totting food.
Ptomaine poisoning (food poisoning)

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