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Research Project: Defining, Measuring, and Mitigating Attributes that Adversely Impact the Quality and Marketability of Foods

Location: Healthy Processed Foods Research

Title: Quantification of toxins in soapberry (Sapindaceae) arils: Hypoglycin A and Methylenecyclopropylglycine

Author
item Isenberg, Samantha - Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDCP) - United States
item Carter, Melisa - Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDCP) - United States
item Hayes, Shelby - Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDCP) - United States
item Graham, Leigh Ann - Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDCP) - United States
item Johnson, Darryl - Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDCP) - United States
item Matthews, Thomas - Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDCP) - United States
item Harden, Leslie - Les
item Takeoka, Gary
item Thomas, Jerry - Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDCP) - United States
item Pirkle, James - Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDCP) - United States
item Johnson, Rudolph - Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDCP) - United States

Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/15/2016
Publication Date: 7/1/2016
Citation: Isenberg, S.L., Carter, M.S., Hayes, S.R., Graham, L., Johnson, D., Matthews, T.P., Harden, L.A., Takeoka, G.R., Thomas, J.D., Pirkle, J.L., Johnson, R.C. 2016. Quantification of toxins in soapberry (Sapindaceae) arils: Hypoglycin A and Methylenecyclopropylglycine. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 64(27):5607-5613. doi:10.1021/acs.jafc.6b02478.

Interpretive Summary: Consumption of certain soapberry fruit such as ackee and litchi can induce hypoglycemia, encephalopathy and even death. It has been recently confirmed that recurring outbreaks of acute hypoglycemic encephalopathy are associated litchi consumption. These outbreaks have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of children per year in India. The causative agents in soapberry fruits are the toxic cyclopropyl amino acids, methylenecyclopropylglycine (MCPG) and hypoglycin A (HGA). We developed a method to simultaneously quantify both MCPG and HGA from 1 microgram up to 10 mg in 1 g of dried soapberry fruit (1-10,000 ppm). We identified and quantified HGA for the first time in litchi arils (the fleshy edible portion of the fruit). This method can be used to identify and quantify MCPG and HGA in other soapberry fruits. This knowledge regarding the amounts of MCPG and HGA in fruit is integral for preventing illness outbreaks that are caused by consumption of soapberry fruits.

Technical Abstract: Methylenecyclopropylglycine (MCPG) and hypoglycin A (HGA) are cyclopropyl amino acids that are known to be in some soapberry fruits and can induce hypoglycemia, encephalopathy and sometimes death. Recent outbreaks linked to the ingestion of soapberry fruits include Jamaican Vomiting Sickness (JVS) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome. JVS has been associated with the ingestion of unripe ackee fruit since as early as 1875. The U.S. FDA banned the importation of ackee fruit products in 1973 but revised the regulations in 2014 to state that the ackee products cannot contain greater than 100 ppm of HGA. We present the first method to simultaneously quantify both MCPG and HGA in soapberry fruits from 1 µg up to 10 mg of toxin in 1 g of dried fruit (1-10,000 ppm). We applied this method to litchi fruit obtained commercially in the US, and are the first to report HGA in litchi arils.