Bongkrek Acid (Funny name, unfunny results)

In many parts of the world, what Westerners would call "meat alternatives" are the main source of protein. One such product is tempeh, made from soy. A particular variety, when contaminated with a particular bacterium, can become contaminated with a potent toxin: bongkrek acid.


Bongkrek acid, like dinitrophenol and cyanide, is a mitochondrial poison.


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Oooh. That sucks. I like tempeh. Only tempeh prepared with coconut (which would be unusual in the States) is at risk, right?

Name one terrestrial meat that is poisonous, name one plant other than lettuce that is not. Death to vegans!

Carototoxin (nerve toxin; carrots), myristicin (hallucinogen; nutmeg, dill and parsley), ptaquiloside (fiddlehead fern; leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, hemolysis; bladder and intestinal carcinogen), cyanogenic glycosides (lima beans, almonds, cassava, apples, plums, cherries...), sanguinarine (severe edema; mustard oil), hemagglutins (red cell destruction; legumes), solanine (nerve toxin; green potatoes), beta-N-oxalylamino-L-alanine (lathyrogenic; chick peas, other legumes), tomatine (nerve toxin; tomatoes), curcurbitacin (nerve toxin; courgettes, cucumber), genestein and daidzein (soy; cryptoestrogens), theobromine (chocolate; sterility), sinigrin (onions; chromsome breakage), chlorogenic acid (coffee; chromosome breakage), goitrin (hypothyrodism; cabbage, crucifers), aflatoxins (peanuts), L-alpha-amino-beta-[methylenecyclopropyl]propionic acid (lichee; hypoglycemic), phytic acid (spinach, corn, rice; chelates iron and zinc), canavanine (alfalfa sprouts; toxic arginine mimic), chaconine (neutrotoxin), vicine (broad bean; hemolytic)... and cancer from benzpyrene (broccoli), safrole, hydrazines (mushrooms), psoralen (photocarcinogen; cellery, parsely, parsnip), quercetin, quinones, pyrrolizidines (comfrey), divicine, isothiocyanates, gossypol, sterculic acid (okra)... and shrimp are loaded with arsenic.

Add nerve toxin acrylamide from high temp-cooked starch + protein. Avoid rhubarb leaves.

Quite a list, Al.

Bangkrek acid looks so a fluffy greasy kitten. Anyone know how it interferes with mitochondia function?

By Vince Noir (not verified) on 28 Nov 2007 #permalink

Seriously? Clostridium botulinum, E. coli, heterocyclic amines, N-nitroso compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, dioxin ...

(Also, shrimp is obviously not a vegetable, and arsenic is found in many if not all meats).

Come on Uncle Al, if someone tried to make an argument about a man made toxin you would be the first to jump in with the toxicity is in the dose argument. Sure plants produce toxins, they don't want animals to eat them, but it is the dose that matters. By the way, aren't shrimp meat.

Actually we have used bongkrekic acid (I assume that's the same as bongkrek acid) in our laboratory experiments. Added to mitochondria and it completely abolishes the mitochondrial permeability transition (MPT). Added to cells it prevents toxicity by many agents. Mechanistically, it binds to adenine nucleotide translocator (ANT), which is required for ADP/ATP transport in mitochondria. ANT was believed to be required for the MPT, but recent reports have questioned this.