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European Journal of Emergency Medicine:

Taste disturbances after pine nut ingestion

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Taste disturbances after pine nut ingestion M. Mostin Poisons Centre, Brussels, Belgium Case report: A colleague anaesthesiologist experienced two episodes of taste disturbances after pine nut ingestion. At the first time, he just consumed a handful of pine nuts. Two days later, he developed an episode of taste disturbances (bitter, metallic taste). The disturbances lasted a few days. He made a link between pine nuts and the taste disturbances after the second episode when his wife and friends who shared with him a dish prepared with the same pine nuts complained of a persisting bitter taste sensation 2 days after the meal. Examination of the pine nuts revealed they were oxidized and not fit for consumption. No fungal contamination was found. No explanation was found for the taste disturbances. In the following months, six similar cases were reported to the Poisons Centre. The pine nuts involved in those cases were imported from China. The pine species remain unidentified. Analysis on pesticide residues and heavy metal did not reveal any contamination. One member of the medical team of the Poisons Centre tested on himself several brands of pine nuts and experienced two separate episodes of taste disturbances with the pine nuts imported from China. The phenomenon remained unexplained. A student in pharmacy undertook chromatographic examinations on two samples involved in the taste disturbances and compared them with pine nuts from other origins. This led to the isolation of constituants compatible with triglycerids, formed by 16–18°C unsaturated fatty acids. The role of those triglycerids in the taste disturbances remains hypothetic.

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Abstracts or communications presented during the XXXVIII Congress of the Society for Clinical Toxicology, organized in Brussels on 7 and 8 December 2000, with the participation of The Belgian–Luxembourg Society of Toxicology (BLT) The Belgian Society of Intensive Care (SIZ) The Belgian Society of Emergency and Disaster Medicine (BESEDIM) The French Society of Analytical Toxicology (SFTA)

© 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.


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