Phytochemistry Reviews

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 137–151 | Cite as

Toxicity of pyrrolizidine alkaloids to humans and ruminants

  • Helmut WiedenfeldEmail author
  • John Edgar


1,2-dehydro pyrrolizidine ester alkaloids (PA) are toxic for human and livestock. The PAs undergo a metabolic toxication process in the liver which is the first target organ for PA poisoning. World-wide many episodes of PA intoxications have been reported involving humans as well as ruminants. This intoxication is not only related to the amount and duration of the exposure to PAs but also to species, age and gender. Besides the metabolic toxification, detoxication processes are also important. The paper discusses the toxification and detoxication processes and gives an overview about PA poisoning cases in humans and ruminants.


Metabolic toxification Detoxication Poisoning in humans Poisoning in ruminants 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pharmaceutical InstituteUniversity of BonnBonnGermany
  2. 2.CSIRO Food and Nutritional SciencesNorth RydeAustralia

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