Dangerous Trivia: Tetrodotoxin, the World’s Most Dangerous Substance

Tetrodotoxin (TTX) is an alkaloid contained in catfish (commonly known as puffer fish) and other organisms. Its molecular…

Tetrodotoxin (TTX) is an alkaloid contained in catfish (commonly known as puffer fish) and other organisms. Its molecular formula is C11H17O8N3 and its molecular weight is 319.


It is an amino perhydroquinazoline compound and is one of the most toxic neurotoxins found in nature. It was once considered to be the most toxic non-protein toxin in nature. The intraperitoneal injection of LD50 in mice is 8 μg / kg, its toxicity is more than 1250 times higher than cyanide, 0.5mg can cause death. Toxins have a local stimulating effect on the intestine. After absorption, they quickly act on nerve endings and nerve centers. They can block sodium channels on nerve excitatory membranes with high selectivity and affinity, hinder nerve conduction, and cause nerve paralysis. death.

Dangerous Trivia: Tetrodotoxin, the World's Most Dangerous Substance
Dangerous Trivia: Tetrodotoxin, the World’s Most Dangerous Substance

The origin of toxins in organisms or parasites is controversial, and the accumulation and distribution of toxins in the body varies by season and location. River salamanders are more toxic in the reproductive season and females are larger than males. In different parts, ovary> spleen> liver> blood> eyes> gill rake> skin> spermary Generally, muscle does not contain toxins, but toxins in the viscera can penetrate into the muscles after death. At this time, fish meat also contains a small amount of toxins. The main areas for extracting toxins are the ovary and liver.

Heliotoxin is very stable in chemical and thermal properties. It can not be destroyed by ordinary cooking methods such as salting or sun exposure. It can be decomposed only when heated at high temperature for more than 30 minutes or under alkaline conditions.

Heating at 220 ℃ for 20-60min can destroy all the toxins. The incubation period of poisoning is very short, as short as 10-30 minutes, as long as the onset of 3-6 hours, the disease is urgent, if the rescue is not timely, the fastest death within 10 minutes after poisoning, the latest 4-6 hours of death. There is also a lack of effective rescue measures after poisoning. Pure toxins are widely used in medicine and have high commercial value.

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