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Apples seeds and cyanide

 
Cj Sloane
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I know Paul is very worried about crushing apple seeds and the cyanide that gets released. I believe he said 1/3 of a cup is enough to kill a person.

I'm going to try make some silage out of crushed apples. When I posted some place else about the cyanide issue, I got this very interesting response:

Thinking back to my Entomology classes, the enzyme to breakdown cyanide is in the apple peel, the cyanide is in the apple seeds to protect them from "worms" which eat the seed inside the apples, not to protect them from large herbivores which act as dispersal vectors. As long as the apples are being ground whole I wouldn;t worry about it. I am not sure about the tannin question, I know that both chickens and turkeys ate the acorn silage I made in honduras, and turkeys eat the whole acorns.


I'd love to hear peoples thoughts on this!
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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I've been feeding and insane amount of apples to chickens and pigs. I mean truckloads of apples. Daily...

Everyone (chickens and Pigs) seems to be more than happy to keep on consuming them even though there are many other food sources available. All signs seem to point that there is no trouble in free feeding apples. In another thread, Walter Jefferies mentioned adding more apples to his hedges to supplement his pig herds and he even had a clever scheme for creep feeding piglets closer to the trees while keeping larger animals far enough away to prevent tree damage.



more apple pig info
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Thought I would post some of the current writings that have been published concerning this matter of poisons and foods.

These findings and writings are from several sources.

Apples, along with cherries, peaches and almonds, are members of the rose family.
The seeds of apples and these other fruits contain natural chemicals that are toxic to some animals.
Are they poisonous to humans? Here's a look at the toxicity of apple seeds.
Apple seeds do contain a small amount of cyanide, which is a lethal poison, but you are protected from the toxin by the hard seed coating.

If you eat whole apple seeds, they pass through your digestive system relatively untouched.
If you chew the seeds thoroughly, you will be exposed to the chemicals inside the seeds, but the dose of toxins in an apple is small enough that your body can easily detoxify it.

Reference: Juniper BE, Mabberley DJ (2006). The Story of the Apple. Timber Press. p. 20. ISBN 0881927848.

Apples are only one of a number of fruits that contain amygdalin in their seeds.
The biggest offenders are apricot and peach pits, followed plums, apple seeds, almond and quince, in descending order of amygdalin content.
The amount of amygdaline contained in apple seeds is tiny, and the seed must be chewed up to release the substance.

Amygdalin is a glycoside toxin that combines with a gastrointestinal enzyme to produce hydrogen cyanide,
the same poison that was called Cylon B and used for mass executions in concentration camps during World War II.
Very often, the fruit or seed with amygdalin, and other precursors to cyanide called cyanogens, can be processed to remove the toxic substance.
Cassava root has a very high cyanogen content and is used for tapioca and other food stuffs.
Proper processing of cassava and thorough cooking renders the cyanogen harmless.
The toxins in almonds also are processed in such a way to either remove the toxin or convert it into a harmless substance.

Amygdalin is also known as vitamin B17, and it a naturally occurring compound in many of the plant based foods we eat.
Amygdalin is not actually a vitamin, but the term “vitamin B17” has stuck and is commonly used to refer to amygdalin.
The issue concerning amygdalin is it contains cyanide. Cyanide is a very scary word for many people that conjures up images of immediate death.
We must realize that amygdalin is commonly present in much of the plant food we consume, with no ill effects.
Amygdalin’s cancer fighting properties come from its cyanogenic glycoside cyanide compound.
Since the body can metabolize cyanogenic glycoside and produce the toxic hydrogen cyanide (HCN) compound,
most attention is placed on hydrogen cyanide’s (HCN) ability to kill not only cancer cells but also normal cells.
Less attention is placed on amygdalin’s complete role in the body.

Ingestion of 50-200 milligrams or 1-3 milligrams per kilograms of hydrogen cyanide per kilogram of weight results in death 50% of the time.
Isolated, this is a scary statistic, but this is also a large amount of hydrogen cyanide that is far above the normal consumption of cyanide containing amygdalin.

We must remember when we consume amygdalin we are not directly consuming hydrogen cyanide.
Amygdalin is composed of four substances that include two glucose, one benzaldyhide, and one cyanide.
The body uses the enzyme beta-glucosidase to break the bonds of the compound and releases the benzaldyhide and cyanide,
which the body can neutralize under normal circumstances.
Beta-glucosidase occurs in the digestive tract and also in cancer cells.
Rhodanese is an enzyme in healthy cells that protects them against cyanide poisoning.
Rhodanese catches cyanide that was released by beta-glucosidase and combines it with sulfur and renders it harmless.
Most cancer cells do not contain this protective enzyme which leaves them vulnerable to cyanide.
Most cancer cells also contain beta-glucosidase which will absorb any amygdalin that entered the blood-stream.
It will break down the amygdalin and release the cyanide in the cancer cell, which kills the cancer cell.
The daily consumption of amygdalin containing foods,
and either a whole food plant-based diet or a diet high in fruits and vegetables,
are preventative measures that keep manageable levels of amygdalin and phytonutrients in the body which reduce the risk of developing cancer.

To treat an existing cancer, a far greater dosage of amygdalin would have to be consumed
to get enough of the amygdalin pass the digestive system and into the bloodstream so it can come directly in contact with cancer cells.

This poses a problem because the beta-glucosidase in the digestive system will release most of the cyanide from the amygdalin into the bloodstream.
Normal cells do have to protection of the enzyme rhodanese, but a large enough quantity of cyanide can overwhelm the body’s ability to neutralize it and can cause cyanide poisoning.
Laetrile was synthesized from amygdalin in 1924 and was used as a anti-cancer agent.
Laetrile was later banned in the United States in 1963.
Dr. Kanematsu Sugiura of the New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center spearheaded research in the 1970’s which showed positive results for laetrile’s anti-cancer properties.
The pharmaceutical industry put pressure on New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
to sweep its findings under the rug, to keep the profit-cutting and natural therapy from the marketplace in favor of chemotherapy.

The most popular natural source of high levels of amygdalin are apricot kernels, though bitter almond seeds are also high in amygdalin.
It is estimated that eating approximately 50 to 60 apricot kernels, or 50g of laetrile, can cause death.

Foods are listed as containing low, medium, and high levels of nitrilosides,
which are various forms of cyanogenic glycosides that include amygdalin, linamarin, lotaustralin, and others.
The represents just a handful of the more than 2500 plant species that contain amygdalin and other nitrilosides.
◦Low — below 100 mgs. per 100 grams food
◦Medium — above 100 mgs. per 100 grams food
◦High — above 500 mgs. nitriloside per 100 grams food

Nuts & Seeds Containing Nitrilosides
◦Bitter almond – high
◦Cashew – low
◦Macadamia -medium to high
◦Apple seeds – high
◦Apricot seed – high
◦Flax seed – medium

Vegetables, Grains, And Legumes Containing Nitrilosides
◦Alfalfa – medium
◦Bamboo – high
◦Eucalyptus – high
◦Spinach – low
◦Water cress – low
◦Black bean – low
◦Black-eyed pea – low
◦Garbanzo bean – low to medium
◦Green pea – low
◦Cassava – high
◦Sweet potato – low
◦Yams – low

Fruits Containing Nitrilosides
◦Blackberry, domestic – low
◦Blackberry, wild – high
◦Currant – medium
◦Elderberry – medium to high
◦Raspberry – medium
Aqiyl Aniys, Natural Life Energy magazine article.

In Nature there are many things we eat for food that could, when certain portions are removed and concentrated, kill us.
The creator gave us many items with which to heal our bodies, it is up to us to discover these things and how to properly use them.

In USA agriculture the main items looked for in grain crops such as wheat, oats, barley and rye cereal grains is Ergot (this is the fungus Timothy Leary used to do his LSD research, LSD is a component of Ergot).
Castor is a "weed" found in many crop fields, The Castor Bean is where we in chemistry get Ricin, one of the most deadly and hard to detect poisons ever used by the CIA and KGB, MI6 and Massad have also used this plant derived poison since it is fast acting and so hard to detect in toxicology.
Every one should know about the Hemlock, and Fox glove, both highly toxic, these were also used as herbal teas (extrememly small quantities were used) in the middle ages to heal certain ailments.
In the Herbology of today we use items that if misused or the wrong quantity is used, will do more harm than good and can result in fatality.
Research leads to knowledge, complete knowledge leads to wisdom when applied with thoughtfulness.
 
Walter Jeffries
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Hmm... I don't think it is a problem. We have fed hundreds of tons of apples to our pigs. The seeds pass through for the most part. I've never seen a pig die of cyanide poisoning. I think that's a pretty good real world statistically significant sample set.

The creep method Craig mentioned is that we build double fence lines such that small animals can pass through to get the drops and other forages in the reserve lanes between paddocks. See:

https://www.google.com/search?q=site:sugarmtnfarm.com+%22double%20fence%20line%22&gws_rd=ssl
 
Cj Sloane
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My concern isn't about the animals eating the seeds but in me processing the seeds in a way that might crush them.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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hau CJ, if this is a big concern of yours then why not just core the apples before processing? It takes me about 3 seconds per apple to do this.
I have seen several folks use a crusher to process their cider apples and I have noticed that most all seeds are still whole after being run through their machines, when I cut apples in half I seem to do more damage to the seeds than their crushers.
 
Rez Zircon
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On a related note, a medicinal use for apple seeds: peel and crush one and use it as a poultice on canker sores in your mouth. About 90% of the time it cures the canker sore within minutes. I discovered this by accident as a kid (what possessed me to try it remains a mystery). And I do mean cure, not just numb -- the sore goes away very suddenly, much faster than if left alone. Presumably it works because something in the seed (probably the toxin) kills viruses.

The seed does need to be sufficiently fresh that it still has that nasty appleseed flavor. Once they're completely dried out, this doesn't work.
 
Joy Oasis
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Rez Zircon wrote:On a related note, a medicinal use for apple seeds: peel and crush one and use it as a poultice on canker sores in your mouth. About 90% of the time it cures the canker sore within minutes. I discovered this by accident as a kid (what possessed me to try it remains a mystery). And I do mean cure, not just numb -- the sore goes away very suddenly, much faster than if left alone. Presumably it works because something in the seed (probably the toxin) kills viruses.

The seed does need to be sufficiently fresh that it still has that nasty appleseed flavor. Once they're completely dried out, this doesn't work.

Thank you for sharing this. I always eat my apple seeds (and chew them well), because I love them. I believe also, that amygdalin is good for preventing and possibly healing cancer. Not too surprised it kills fungus too. I also eat loquat seeds, when they are in season. They are larger than apple ones -lots of tasty goodness. I read, that if we eat as many seeds as we comfortably eat fruit that has them, it is a good and safe amount.
Not sure about preserves since cooked down fruit is more concentrated, but if people eat it in small amounts, it must be fine too.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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hau, Joy. While it is true that eating the seeds of the fruit you eat can possibly prevent cancer, it would take a far larger amount of ingested seeds to even begin to heal cancer.
 
Rez Zircon
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Well, the "as many as the fruit has" rule isn't so good, considering that just ONE bitter almond or castor bean can be sufficient to kill.

But yeah, in cautious amounts they can have their uses. Just be careful of cumulative effects, particularly on kidney function.

 
Joy Oasis
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:hau, Joy. While it is true that eating the seeds of the fruit you eat can possibly prevent cancer, it would take a far larger amount of ingested seeds to even begin to heal cancer.

Yes, possibly. But I think, if person has cancer, he or she has to do many natural things at once to detox and renourish the body at the same time, including lots of green juices and enemas. Amygdalin, soursop and other herbs/fruits, etc. will be useful, but not alone. Also emotional part is extremely important, probably more so than all the physical things put together.
 
Joy Oasis
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Rez Zircon wrote:Well, the "as many as the fruit has" rule isn't so good, considering that just ONE bitter almond or castor bean can be sufficient to kill.

But yeah, in cautious amounts they can have their uses. Just be careful of cumulative effects, particularly on kidney function.


Castor is not an edible plant, it is poisonous plant. Bitter almonds are still eaten in Europe, they are actually part of the special cookies in Italy. But that said, if you are not comfortable eating apple seeds, don't do it since your beliefs alone can make you sick, if you do. Placebo effect.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Very true Rez. Rule number one, Always know what it is you are putting in your mouth and what it can do to you.
Castor beans are the source for Ricin, one of the most poisonous chemical compounds on the earth and a favorite of the KGB Assassins for taking out a target in public view. They are not part of an edible plant.
If you were to open up a peach or apricot pit and then eat the seed, it would not be long before convulsions began. Question there is why would you go to the trouble?

I believe most folks here have that elusive thing called common sense.
There are many items we can safely eat that prevent or are thought to prevent cancers. Many of these are not thought of by the masses as "conventional foods", that doesn't mean they aren't food.
Apple seeds are not really a great concern I have never seen a bag of apple seeds for sale with the intent of them being consumed by the purchaser.

If you don't know, then you should find out, just like with mushrooms, what you don't know might be the last thing you know.
Think of what chemotherapy actually does, while it is killing cancer cells it is also killing healthy cells at the same rate.
If you like the taste of a seed, then indulge, but do educate yourself on the consequences before jumping in the deep end.

It would take a lot of apple seeds to do any real harm though and I think most people would have tired jaws first.
 
Joy Oasis
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:
If you were to open up a peach or apricot pit and then eat the seed, it would not be long before convulsions began.


I can tell you, that this was definitely not true for me, my brother and many other people. I ate quite a few as a kid (had to use nut cracker or hammer to open them) and I am alive. Search on amazon - Bitter Apricot Seeds and you will find them in the package, that people eat for health conditions.
Castor bean is a totally different plant, none of it is edible and it is toxic.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Hau, Joy. Did you read my first post in this thread?

A lot of things you might be able to eat with no side effects showing up doesn't mean that everyone would have the same experience as you.
And I have seen many items for sale in other countries that are not particularly safe for everyone to eat. Food allergies account for many hospital visits every day.
You seem to think that onset of convulsion means onset of death, that is not what I said.
Doesn't it make sense for people to make their own, informed, decisions about what they eat?
Also don't forget that the human body changes as time goes by, allergies can manifest where none were present previously.
I am not attacking you or what you eat. Yet you seem to be reacting as if I am.
 
Joy Oasis
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:
Also don't forget that the human body changes as time goes by, allergies can manifest where none were present previously.
I am not attacking you or what you eat. Yet you seem to be reacting as if I am.

Sorry, Briant, you got that impression, I am just simply trying to say, that many things that media and FDA call dangerous are truly not (like apricot or apple seeds), and many things they say are good(like chemotherapy) are actually poisons, that destroy the liver and other organs. And since your sentence about apricot seeds was very categorical and stated as a fact, I felt compelled to tell my and many of other people's experience with it. I do not feel attacked by you, and hope you do not feel that way from my side either.
Allergies are totally different matter, and it is always a good idea to eat new foods and medicinal plants in small amounts. I know a person who is extremely allergic to mangos and can't even touch them. But we do not call mangoes poisonous since not many people get that reaction.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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LOL, don't get me started on the FDA, I used to be with the USDA.
 
Joy Oasis
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:LOL, don't get me started on the FDA, I used to be with the USDA.

Sometimes I forget though, that what I resist, persists.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:If you were to open up a peach or apricot pit and then eat the seed, it would not be long before convulsions began. Question there is why would you go to the trouble?


I go to the trouble of eating the nut-meat of peaches, apricots, and bitter almonds, because, as a plant breeder working with almonds and closely related species with similar potential as nuts, it is important to me to routinely taste the pits in order to identify those that are less poisonous and more suitable as food crops. I haven't noticed any detrimental effects other than bitterness. I have tasted plenty of plants that are much more bitter.

I also eat the entire apple with core, and make a point of crushing the seeds to release the bitters held within. But that's less than a dozen apples a day during the few month season.

 
John Saltveit
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This is a great thread. If you saw "The Truth About Cancer" or "The Quest for the Cures", free, computer based video podcasts featuring a wide variety of doctors who are fighting cancer, many of these things fight cancer. I do eat and chew apple seeds, but not all. I grow a huge number of apples. I also grow some plums that have large pits, and I eat the larger ones, up to one every other day. I also grow peaches, some more in some years than in others. I will eat all of the peach seeds, again, one every other day. What Bryant said is absolutely correct and crucially important. Which is cheaper, preventing cancer by eating free fruit seeds, or spending a million dollars to die from chemotherapy after you've already gotten cancer? The unlocking of the cyanide to fight cancer is fascinating.

I think of this as permaculture health. Simple, slow activities, that almost all of us can do to stay healthy, save money, and live longer. Cancers typically grow for decades until we find out that we have cancer. Processed food, sugar and synthetic chemicals help cancer grow. The seeds can be a part of your regular life. Peach and plum seeds in summer. Apple, quince and pear seeds in fall. All of the other natural cancer fighters the rest of the year. The more diversity the better. Raw vegetables, mushrooms, and fruit, exercise,being connected and being kind and stress free fight cancer. Be kind and stress free.
John S
PDX OR
 
Cj Sloane
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This thread has gone in all sorts of unexpected directions. The people who chew seeds/pits reminds me of livestock which self-medicate.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Cj Sloane wrote:This thread has gone in all sorts of unexpected directions. The people who chew seeds/pits reminds me of livestock which self-medicate.


I love being an animal, and a primate, and part of the natural world!
 
John Saltveit
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Mi two.
JS
PDX OR
 
paul wheaton
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What an excellent thread.

For me to make my statements about apple seeds ten years ago, I had to do about six hours of research and run through the math about 20 times to come up with the thing about 1/3 of a cup of seeds.

THIS thread is one of the biggest reasons I created these forums: to be able to talk about this stuff and learn more about this stuff. To grow with a community instead of just being a lone, crazy voice. All the work to get these forums started is paying off.

Okay, here are some very important points I desperately need to add to this thread:

222: as pointed out earlier, these seeds will pass right through most animals and so there is no problem. I feel very certain that pigs will be universally fine. I would, however, worry about chickens - their crop can probably crush the seeds.

223: the reason I jumped into the research is that people had what they thought was a "clever" way to crush apples for making cider: a brand new garbage disposal. My concern about this is that it would break open too many seeds. Then when the opened seeds go through the press - the innards of the seed could be pressed out, mixed with the apple juice and carried into the final product. A gallon of juice/cider might contain the innards of more than a third of a cup of seeds. We can then start to talk about how much juice would one need to drink to kill a child - but if a child is already less-than-healthy .... So I would like to suggest mashing apples with a different technique.

224: On several occasions I tried to warn people that were using this technique and was universally rejected as crazy. So I was torn between a good exercise in darwin's theory on one side, and the whole world no longer making home made cider on the other due to so many deaths around it. And then it occurred to me: between the darwin award candidates and the apathy of our healthcare system, cider pressing will never be in jeopardy. So, I did my good deed and warned them.

225: There are ways to mash apples to get more juice that leave the seeds in tact.

226: I think a level 5 (and higher) permaculture approach would be to put high value on those seeds and encourage planting them everywhere. One way might be by first running the seeds through a critter - although I think that tends to not work so well for apple seeds (even thought that is "botany of desire" function of the seed). I would prefer to gather them out of the cider mash and plant them by hand.


Thanks again everybody, for having a good, healthy discussion about what I think is a very serious concern.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Paul, you bring up good points about what could happen in cider making operations.

I usually use 100 lbs. and up to 500 lbs. of apples when making a mash, so there would be a distinct probability of having more than a full cup of seeds in there.
I take a little more time than most folks when we are prepping for making mash.
I take the core out and quarter the apples with a handy dandy tool I made.
It has a center piece of stainless steel pipe that is 1" ID x 3" long and four flats 4" wide by 6" tall, with pieces of the same pipe TIG welded to the tops of the flats for push handles.
I also made a food safe bottom board that lets the cores go to a separate bucket, it works like a slide.
Took a while to get that design to work but it does the job I wanted it to do.
While it takes a little more time on the front end, it gives lots of whole cores which we just drop to the ground where we want more apple trees.
This makes planting easy, gives any critter that wants to eat the core some food and they then spread those seeds.

The Brandy comes off nice and tasty too.

 
Cj Sloane
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:
I take the core out and quarter the apples with a handy dandy tool I made.
It has a center piece of stainless steel pipe that is 1" ID x 3" long and four flats 4" wide by 6" tall, with pieces of the same pipe TIG welded to the tops of the flats for push handles.
I also made a food safe bottom board that lets the cores go to a separate bucket, it works like a slide.
Took a while to get that design to work but it does the job I wanted it to do.


Ooooh. Could you please post a pic of your coring tool?

My reason for starting this thread was about making silage out of the apples but I've decided to dry them instead. I've been using a corer/divider and drying in the oven (and should be finishing up my solar dryer this weeked). I've been feeding the cores to the sheep/chickens.

This is working fine for now but as my apple trees come online I've been thinking about a better tool for scaling up.

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Bryant RedHawk
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Once I get internet at Asnikiye Heca I plan on putting up lots of photos, unfortunately until then, I can not post any photos.

 
allen lumley
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Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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- The history of Most publications covering Cyanide/Cyanogenic glycosides/Laetrile was a little too Purple and Woo -Woo and I totally ignored this thread!

Truth be told -I really want to commend everyone for the high caliber of communication, and both clear thinking and openness to The Ideas introduced,

in so many ways this was a Spectacular Example of the best ideals of Permies.com !!!

I am very happy I gave it a second look ! FOR THE GOOD OF THE CRAFT !Big AL
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Today I reviewed some web articles about poisonous apple seeds. They all contained the same logical error... They say that cyanide is poisonous and can kill you at a certain dosage, and that apple seeds contain amygdalin in a certain dosage... What none of the articles accounted for is that cyanide is only 8% by weight of the amygdalin compound. So if 100 mg of cyanide is enough to kill an adult, then it would take 1250 mg of amygdalin to do the job. So this assumption overestimates the danger by 12X

Another error that the articles made was claiming that an apple seed weighs about .7 grams. I don't have my scales with me today, but those claims are just plain wrong. Okra has a seed similar in size to apple seeds. There are about 20 okra seeds per gram. Wheat has a similar size to an apple seed. There are about 30 wheat kernels per gram. So using those as a ball-park estimate, an apple seed really weighs perhaps about 0.03 grams. The error in the weight of an apple seed overestimates the danger by 23X.

Together these two errors overestimate the danger by 300X.

When I was running a commercial apple press, the cutter was a set of knife blades running at very high speed. It routinely sliced the seeds apart.
Amygdalin contents of seeds from fifteen varieties of apples ranged from 1 mg g(-1) to 4 mg g(-1). The amygdalin content of commercially-available apple juice was low, ranging from 0.01 to 0.04 mg ml(-1) for pressed apple juice..
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25306368


So if we take the high end of 4 mg amygdalin that equals 0.32 mg cyanide per gram of seeds. So the dose per seed would be about 0.01 mg. So it would require 10,000 of the high potency seeds to equal 100 mg of cyanide. It would require 40,000 of the low potency seeds. If there are 5 seeds per apple it would require 2500 of the high potency apples or about 17 bushels of medium sized fruits.

 
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