The Seductive Appeal of Toxins

Food, Happy FaceBy Craig Sams replying in the New Scientist:

“The discovery that nectar toxins are attractive to bees is not totally surprising (25 April, p 42). We’re all attracted to toxins.

Fruit toxins and vegetable toxins are part of the “5 a day” that health authorities recommend.

They are a key part of the aromas that our noses have evolved to identify as “delicious”.

Plant defences against pathogens and parasites evolved long before sophisticated animal life forms emerged.

So instead of manufacturing antimicrobials ourselves, we obtain them when we eat health-enhancing fruits and vegetables.

True, they are poisons, but Paracelsus’s adage that it is “the dose makes the poison” applies.”


Sams, C. (2015) Letters: The Seductive Appeal of Toxins. New Scientist. 16 May 2015, pp.54.


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