Sunday, September 24, 2006

How would you like someone to poison you?

In the tail episodes of my beloved Arrested Development it is revealed George Bluth had a penchant for sending poison muffins to his enemies, but just the first two, the other twenty-three were copycats. But it tickles my fondness for the best comedy ever when I stumbled upon this article in Nature. Does some folks' disdain for vegetables like cauliflower, brussel sprouts and others that contain the molecule phenylthiocarbamide, a compound that plugs into the TAS2R receptor in the taste buds. Molecule of the Day has some neat commentary on these embittering substances.

Discriminating poison is a vital part of the taste sense, if not its most essential. Wild almonds contain a high amound of toxin yet it was important for early adopters to roast the nuts to remove the threats such as prussic acid, better known as cyanide, a tasteless, odorless and potent poison.

Still, both green vegetables and nuts provide easily available sources of all sorts of vital nutrients, and one would be hard-pressed to turn these down or hand them over to competitors.

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