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Degradation of the Potato Glycoalkaloids – α-Solanine and α-Chaconine in Groundwater


The potato glycoalkaloids α-chaconine and α-solanine are produced in high amounts in potato plants from where release to soil takes place. Degradation of the compounds in groundwater was investigated, as their fate in the terrestrial environment is unknown. Abiotic and microbial degradation were followed in groundwater sampled from below a potato field and spiked with the glycoalkaloids (115 nmol/l). Degradation was primarily microbial and the glycoalkaloids were degraded within 21–42 days. The metabolites β1-solanine, γ-solanine, and solanidine were formed from α-solanine, while β-chaconine, γ-chaconine and solanidine were detected from α-chaconine. Thus, indigenous groundwater microorganisms are capable of degrading the glycoalkaloids.

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This study was conducted within the Research School of Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology (RECETO), University of Copenhagen.

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Correspondence to Pia H. Jensen.

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Jensen, P.H., Jacobsen, O.S., Henriksen, T. et al. Degradation of the Potato Glycoalkaloids – α-Solanine and α-Chaconine in Groundwater. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 82, 668–672 (2009).

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  • LC–MS
  • Metabolites
  • Natural toxin
  • Solanum tuberosum L.