Alkaloids in edible lupin seeds

A toxicological review and recommendations

image of Alkaloids in edible lupin seeds

The report reviews the toxicity data on inherent natural toxicants in lupin seeds, especially quinolizidin alkaloids. Lupin seeds are increasingly used in the Nordic countries, partially substituting wheat flour in certain foods. An estimation of the risk by consuming foods containing lupin seeds in the Nordic countries and recommendations to better ensure the safe use of these seeds in foods are given.



Discussion and conclusions

It seems that humans, especially children, are much more sensitive to acute toxic effects from lupin alkaloids than experimental animals (mainly rats studied). The acute oral LD50 -values for lupin alkaloids in rats are found in the range of 1700–2300 mg/kg b.w. In comparison, an adult man became severely intoxicated after ingestion of lupin seeds with approximately 2 % total alkaloid from L. albus estimated to an intake of approximately 31–46 mg/kg b.w. of total alkaloids and a woman became severely intoxicated after the intake of 25–29 mg of total alkaloids/kg b.w. In small children the deadly dose of alkaloids from bitter lupin seeds was estimated to 11?25 mg kg/b.w. in small children equivalent to doses as low as 5?10 g seeds. In the cases with small children the actual lupin species responsible for the deadly intoxications was not mentioned but it is most likely that it was bitter seeds from L. albus that were involved. This indicates that the rat might not be a good animal model for studying possible toxic effects in humans from foods containing lupin seeds.


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