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Tropical fruits linked to parkinsonism

Tropical fruits linked to parkinsonism

Has anybody heard about this? It appears that they have linked annona fruits to neurotoxicity. The most immediate evidence suggests it's specifically in Soursops.


Tropical fruits linked to parkinsonism

A diet including soursop and related tropical fruits is linked to Parkinson’s-like diseases that strike the elderly in the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.


Caparros-Lefebvre, D., A. Elbaz, and the Caribbean Parkinsonism Study Group. 1999. Possible relation of atypical parkinsonism in the French West Indies with consumption of tropical plants: A case-control study. Lancet 354(July 24):281.

Further Readings:

Booth, R.G., N.J. Castagnoli, and H. Rollema. 1989. Intracerebral microdialysis neurotoxicity studies of quinoline and isoquinoline derivatives to MPTP/MPP+. Neuroscience Letters 100:306.

Elizan, T.S., A. Hirano, and B.M. Abrams. 1966. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and parkinsonism-dementia complex on Guam: Neurological reevaluation. Archives of Neurology 14:356.

McGeer, P.L., et al. 1997. Familial nature and continuing morbidity of the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-parkinsonism dementia complex of Guam. Neurology 49:400.

Rodgers-Johnson, P., et al. 1986. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and parkinsonism dementia on Guam: A 30-year evaluation of clinical and neuropathologic trends. Neurology 36:7.

Spencer, P.S., et al. 1987. Guam amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-parkinsonism-dementia linked to a plant excitant neurotoxin. Science 237:517.


Dominique Caparros-Lefebvre
Centre Hospitalier Universitaire des Antilles et de la Guyane
Department of Neurology
Route de Chauvel
97159 Pointe à Pitre
Guadeloupe, French West Indies

Alexis Elbaz
Hôpital de la Salpêtrière
Inserm U360
Boulevard de l’Hopital
75013 Paris

Paul A. Rosenberg
Harvard Medical School
Children’s Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

Herman J. Weinreb
New York University Medical Center
530 First Avenue
Suite 5A
New York, NY 10016

From Science News, Vol. 156, No. 5, July 31, 1999, p. 69. Copyright © 1999, Science Service.

Another abstract can be found here:

The following thread was started by Axel on February 01, 2007 at 1:23 pm PST


Guess all tropical countries would be infested with "parkinsonians". Those scientist are plain nuts and also once said that Earth was flat.

The above followup was added by leonel on February 01, 2007 at 2:23 pm PST.

don't eat fruit bats... and freeze report

Sure. I read the article in Science News you cite when it came out. My initial reaction: time to lay off the Annonas!

But I did some digging into the issue, and after more literature review, decided it's a total non-issue. While I haven't thought about this in half-a-dozen years, here's what I recall:
*People in Guam have been developing Parkinson's symptoms. High levels of a compound found in Annonas (native to South America, but grown in Guam) are found in them. But the problem is not from Annona consumption, but consumption of fruit bats. Fruit bats are a delicacy in Guam. The bats eat the Annonas, bioaccumulate the neurotoxin, and when the humans eat the bats, there's trouble. Humans would have to consume gargantuan quantities of straight Annonas to get the problem concentrations. It wasn't a problem in Guam until plentiful firearms after WWII made it easy to kill large quantities of the purportedly-tasty bats. Before then, bats hunted traditionally were a very low percentage of caloric intake, and there wasn't a problem.

There were a number of subsequent papers on the fruit-bat angle that alleviated my concerns.

But Axel, just to be safe, you should send all of your cherimoyas (which are toxic) to me. I'll conduct appropriate research, and sacrifice myself for science.

By the way, interesting freeze results from El Cerrito. Worst damage to a Passiflora antioquiensis (unfortunately, the elusive strain of New Zealand antio that has some sort of a mutation that makes it fully sun-tolerant, and likely will be very hard to replace) and a green sapote. No damage to P.edulis (various types), Campomanesia sp., Casimiroa, lucuma, Hylocereus, capulins, kangaroo apple, macadamia, Billardiera, various citrus, etc. Minor damage to some but not all cherimoyas, and minor damage to rose apple. And surprisingly, pretty significant damage to a Tacsonia passion vine, likely P.tarminiana. This plant is one of 4 or 5 seedlings I've grown out from seed of a selection by Edgar Valdivia. While Edgar's plant has apparently tasty fruit, in my climate, none of the seedlings have been worth eating. (They're edible, but not really palatable.) Anyway, the plant is massive, and will recover fine from the damage, but I was still quite surprised to see it.

Looking at multi-grafted cherimoyas and different levels of freeze damage, I seem to confirm that Deliciosa is more cold-hardy (per earlier literature reports discussed here in some detail in the past). I detect NO difference in cold-tolerance of Fino or Pierce, and they seem definitely less tolerant than Deliciosa. I know some here in the past have said that Fino de Jete is more cold-tolerant---- I doubt that to be so. Can't make any deductions on Booth, Nata, or various seedlings. But my cherimoya damage was very superficial--- leaf damage only, and only on some plants. Seemingly no damage to fruit, and all the fruit is on the trees--- in my climate without handpollination early, I get no fruit in the fall/early winter. (Actually, my largest, heaviest-bearing tree had the most damage. Weird--- although it's a different location than others, so likely localized microclimate influence.

But basically, very minimal freeze damage on plants in the ground in El Cerrito. I don't get a lot of heat, but the marine influence of the nearby Bay seems to moderate the killing cold experienced by many others in CA. I actually put a light on at night next to the antio, since I've lost this species at maybe brief temps of 32 -34F in the past, but it did no good.

It was very encouraging to see Campomanesia species do fine in this event with no damage.

The above followup was added by Tom A. on February 01, 2007 at 3:56 pm PST.

These articles are more recent

This study is more recent than the bat study. They didn't link bat consumption, but tea and fruit consumption to the parkinson-like symptoms. And these symptoms dissapeared when the folks stopped annona tea infusion consumption, not necessarily fruit consumption. When I read the papers, I conclude that I shouldn't be eating the bark of annonas and make tea from leaves. The compounds that seem to be quite neurotoxic are coreximine and reticuline, both are present in the bark and plant tissue, but not in the fruit.

Cherimoya seeds contain reticuline, which is one reason not eat the seeds of cherimoyas. Cherimoya seeds are known to be toxic anyway, so it's no big deal.

Anyway, I agree that cherimoyas aren't likely to be neurotoxic.

Tom, thanks for the freeze report.

Regarding cherimoya hardiness, well, out in the open, I did notice differences in hardiness. Unfortunately, I only have two cherimoyas in my frost pit. The rest are on the hill, where nothing got even remotely damaged. So my garden wasn't a good testing ground.

I've been contemplating growing more cherimoyas in the frost pit just for the sakes of finding a hardy variety. But first, I want to build up my genetic stock on the hillside where the cherimoyas are safer from cold spells.


The above followup was added by Axel on February 01, 2007 at 5:22 pm PST.

Annona tea

I make tea from Annona montana for sleepy time sometimes and for the angries. Also, an anti-lots of bad stuff history among numerous peoples seems contrary to a Parkinsonian Connection. Also, since the symptoms stop after consumption, what's the worry, as it not "real" neuropathy or similar.

Also, I bet the local area of concern is a little more Annona dense than our enthusiasts gardens tend to be and our consumption much less chronic.

For me, whatever will be; will be. I will eat from the damn Annona tree.


The above followup was added by Alan_Tampa on February 01, 2007 at 8:10 pm PST.

Freeze report - SF


My P. Antio. also got fried. It's one from the SF arbor. (Aaron Gilbert cuttings). As for the New Zealand strain, I think Liz Waterman might have that one, or maybe I got that backwards from my conversation with her.


The above followup was added by Shawn on February 02, 2007 at 9:24 pm PST.

My Antio is fine, if you need cuttings, let me know

I don't think I have the New Zealand version, but I do have an antio growing here, and since it was growing in the upper half of my garden, it doesn't even have a trace of frost burn on it.

Most of the passiflora in the lower garden are fine too, just a few patches of frost burn here and there. Strange, considering my cherimoya and lucuma didn't fare so well down there. In fact the lumuma tree is fried, yet the p. tripartita var. azuyaensis growing on it is fine.


The above followup was added by Axel on February 03, 2007 at 10:04 am PST.


Good info on how to replicate the NZ plant, Shawn--- although I wonder if Liz' plant survived the cold. Strangely, it now looks as if part of my antio is alive, so maybe it'll come back. Thanks for the cutting offer, Axel. When the house is done, I'll visit and try to start some more passiflora from cuttings.

Another observation: I've got 2 lucumas in the ground. One is about 6' tall, and that had absolutely no damage. The other is much smaller (something had whacked the top of it off about 2 years ago). It is now showing some delayed freeze damage. The plant will live, but the top growth has some damage. The green sapote on the other hand has quite a bit of damage. I'm guessing it will probably survive, but it'll be set back probably 4 years, getting burned down to the level it was when I first put it in the ground.

The above followup was added by Tom A. on February 05, 2007 at 10:35 am PST.

My lucuma is 10 feet tall and fried

I planted my lucuma in a large, open area that gets heavy frost, so it got nailed pretty hard there. They are not very hardy, at least not this variety.


The above followup was added by Axel on February 05, 2007 at 4:48 pm PST.

lavender metering briefness maps stags:redirection circuses

The above followup was added by on May 17, 2007 at 5:22 pm PST.

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