Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Fruit and Vegetables; Potato fruits



On the left are some potato fruits, on the right are cherry tomatoes. If you think plants love you, just try eating those lovely fruits on the left. See you in A and E (that's the UK equivalent of the ER for those over the Pond). Please don't do this.

Potatoes forgot to put toxin in their tubers, evolution never expects... a fork or a digging stick is bad news to a potato. The tomato is just a failed toxin producer, unless you are salicylate intolerant. In which case it did a reasonable job and you'll leave it alone.

Peter

5 comments:

ItsTheWooo said...

Tomatoes, especially when cooked/stewed and in quantity, are a major trigger for my blood sugar freakishness. I had assumed this was related to the glutamates which are produced (eating glutimate for me is practically like injecting myself with a unit or so of insulin). Maybe it's the salicylate too? I believe that is insulinogenic isn't it?

I don't think the tomato would want to hurt people, though... it's a fruit, it wants us to eat it and spread it's seeds, that's why it is sweet and delicious (unlike noxious bitter weedy plants, which we pretty much kill when we eat them, which is why they are bitter and weedy and disgusting).

Misty said...

Love your posts!!!!!!!!!!!!

Peter said...

Yes, you can argue these things several ways. You could describe the tomato as successful as we grow them in bulk, much as wheat is probably one of the most successful organisms on the planet, microbes excepted of course. It then leaves you wondering why the potato fruit chose a different path to the tomato. Variation for niche exploitation perhaps? I find it interesting that the surface spuds are toxic and the deep ones solanine free. Some sort of message there... You can tell I'm harvesting chicken food at the moment!

Glutamates, salicylates and solanine related alkaloids probably all matter for some people!

Peter

Bryan - oz4caster said...

What about the solanine and related glykoalkaloids in the potato tubers? Some potatoes can have enough to make you sick, but since it tastes bitter, most people wouldn't eat it in high concentration.

Tomatoes also have solanine, along with salicylates, but won't send most people to the ER :)

Seems like there are no plants that *don't* have some kind of poison for defense. Apparently human bodies have learned to cope with some of these chemicals - some bodies better than others.

Bruce K said...

"Maybe it's the salicylate too? I believe that is insulinogenic isn't it?"

Salicylates cause hypoglycemia, esp in a low-carb diet probably. So the effects are similar to insulin, but the mechanism is quite different.