Article from the Tropical Fruit News magazine of the Miami Rare Fruit Council International
by Yasseen Mohamed-Yassseen, Ph.D., University of Florida TREC




Avocado Toxicity


Natural incidents of poisoning by avocado plants have been reported in horses, cattle, goats, rabbits, canaries, cockatiels, and fish. (Craigmill et al., 1984; McKenzie and Brown, 1991). Craigmill et aI., (1984) reported that leaves of "Anaheim" have deleterious effects on goats. Preliminary experimental toxicity in laboratory animals suggested that the plant contains a cardiotoxin (McKenzie and Brown, 1991); however, rigorous research is needed to confirm such claims. The anise scent of avocado leaves is shown to be due to estragole and was identified in the leaves of the Mexican horticultural race but not in the Guatemalan or West Indian cultivars (King and Knight, 1987). This estragole was found to have insecticidal properties, but its effect was moderate. (Benschoter et aI., 1986).

Avocados are the riches known natural source of the seven-carbon sugar D- manno-heptulose (Simon and Kracier, 1966; Ogataet al., 1972). This sugar possesses the physiological ability to cause inhibition of insulin secretion in humans, thereby producing "instant diabetes" (Simon and Kracier, 1966). It is improbable that blood sugar levers in a normal person would be affected by average consumption; however, diabetics should consume avocado cautiously (Bergh, 1992). Shawet aI., (1980) found that there is a correlation of manno-heptulose content with the race of avocado cultivar, and suggested that it may be possible to breed new culitvars with a lower content of this sugar.



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Bibliography

Mohamed-Yassseen, Yasseen. "Avocado Toxicity." tropicalfruitnew.org.  Tropical Fruit News -Jan. 1994 Page 14. Web. 5 Oct. 2015.

Published 17 Oct. 2015 LR
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