Friday, January 21, 2022

History of puffer fish poisoning

Pufferfish has been consumed since historical times in worldwide. In Korea, pufferfish were possibly consumed in the Neolithic period approximately 5000 years ago. Though many people consider it a delicacy, puffer fish (Lagocephalus scleratus) is a lethal source of food poisoning with a high mortality.

There are references to puffer fish in hieroglyphics of the ancient Egyptian dynasty of 2700 BC. Scholars suggest this fish known to be poisonous during Egyptian times. Mosaic sanitary laws against eating fish without fins and scale may have been derived to avoid fish containing TTX; the TTX containing fish in the region inhabited by Israelites were scaleless.

Tetrodotoxin (TTX) is a potent neurotoxin. Tetrodotoxin blocks voltage sensitive sodium channels in nerve tissue leading to failure of depolarization and propagation of action potential in nerve tissue.

Captain James Cook, the British explorer, recorded in 1774 his experience after eating a piece of liver from a puffer fish purchased from a native fisherman during his voyages in the Pacific Ocean, Before preparing the fish for eating, it was described and drawn, Cook tasted the liver and wrote of a vivid feeling of extraordinary weakness and numbness.

The voodoo poisons of Haitian folklore responsible for "zombification" reportedly contains tetrodotoxin.

In 1996, three cases of fugu poisoning occurred in San Diego in chefs who ate prepackaged, ready-to-eat fugu illegally imported from Japan.

It was not until early in the last century that the toxicity of puffer fish toxin became the subject of intense investigations. Since that time, the puffer fish toxin has become the subject of pharmacological investigations.
History of puffer fish poisoning