Wednesday, July 06, 2011

"Plant and Animal Toxins"


"Nature is beautiful". I agree with that. Just merely looking at it (but of course not to the polluted part of it) will relax my tired body. But ooopppps, bear in mind that not all that we see that are pleasing to the eyes are really beautiful. We might be deceived by what we see because these attractive creatures may harm and injure us.

                                PLANT TOXINS:

There are those that can aggravate or irritate our skin, gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular, reproductive and nervous system. Examples will be the following:

 POISON IVY: this plant can cause allergic dermatitis or inflammation of skin. It may be manifested through rashes or skin irritation. It produces “urushiol”, a clear compound in the fluid of this plant which makes it irritable for those who touches it.

RICIN: from a castor bean which is been known since ancient
times to serve as a remedy for human ailments. Though it has pleasant appearance and seems not to be injurious, this plant, Castor bean (where ricin was derived) has its dark side because it can be used to harm people. Ricin has botulinum and anthrax-like toxin which blocks protein synthesis and eventually the cell will die. It can also be used as bioweapon to instil fear to the people.

CONIINE: also known as hemlock which is a plant which woke up ancient awareness by using it way back in 399 BC to kill Socrates who is charged with religious heresy and corrupting the morals of the youth. It is classified as neurotoxic alkaloid which causes paralysis, seizure and to the extent of death.


There are a lot of people who loves to take good care of animals which are really unique like arachnids, insects, reptiles and marine animals. Well, they must know first what harm that these animals might cause them.

PUFFER FISH:   they are famous because of their inflatability. They are slow swimmers that make them susceptible to predators. In order to avert this, they ingest huge amount of water (owing it to their exceedingly elastic stomachs) in order for them to turn into a ball-like object larger than their normal size. They also have spines to make them less appetizing for predators.

They also contain tetrodotoxin, responsible for their foul taste and can be deadly to their predators and to humans through its capability of shutting down the nervous system. It is 1,200 more times poisonous than cyanide and there is no known antidote. So beware!

SURPRISINGLY, this fish also known as the blowfish, is considered a delicacy in Japan and here in the Philippines. I would never want to eat this fish after I read facts about it.

WASPS: according to, last May 11, 2010, it is the 7th deadliest insect in the world. Though they are lethal to humans, they are critically significant in the natural control of their population because of their nature as biocontrol. Parasitic wasps are also useful in agriculture since they prey pests and have little effect on crops.


ELAPIDAE: a family of venomous snakes which includes the very famous Cobras. They contain neurotoxin which can cause paralysis. Aside from this dreadful fact about them, they are also an important part of the food chains and their role is to consume small terrestrial vertebrates.  

Thank you for reading. I hope now we will all be more aware and careful on what we eat or even touch. Looks can be deceiving. :)