Avocado Seed Toxins
Date: Spring 2013
I have heard that Avocado seeds are have poison inside the core. Is this true that avocado seeds have poison inside the core of the seed?
Avocado seeds can be poisonous to some animals, but usually not humans unless they are allergic:
Anthony R. Brach, PhD
I found this information at:
In 1982, the evolutionary biologist Daniel H. Janzen suggested that the avocado may be an example of an 'evolutionary anachronism', a fruit adapted for ecological relationship with now-extinct large mammals (such as giant ground sloths or gomphotheres). Most large fleshy fruits serve the function of seed dispersal, accomplished by their consumption by large animals. There are some reasons to think that the fruit, with its mildly toxic pit, may have co-evolved with Pleistocene megafauna to be swallowed whole and excreted in their dung, ready to sprout. No extant native animal is large enough to effectively disperse avocado seeds in this fashion.”
“Toxicity to animals
Avocado leaves, bark, skin, or pit are documented to be harmful to animals; cats, dogs, cattle, goats, rabbits, rats, birds, fish, and horses can be severely harmed or even killed when they consume them. The avocado fruit is poisonous to some birds, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) lists it as toxic to many animals including cats, dogs, and horses.
Avocado leaves contain a toxic fatty acid derivative, persin, which in sufficient quantity can cause colic in horses and, without veterinary treatment, death. The symptoms include gastrointestinal irritation, vomiting, diarrhoea, respiratory distress, congestion, fluid accumulation around the tissues of the heart, and even death. Birds also seem to be particularly sensitive to this toxic compound. Feeding avocados or guacamole to an animal should be avoided completely.”
Thanks for the question. I would recommend reading the entry on avocados on Wikipedia. The issue of toxicity of the seeds (pits) is briefly addressed. More importantly, you will find references that are cited. I would recommend that you find and read those references as they may be of help in answering your question.
I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have more questions.
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Update: November 2011