Good news from the earlier researchers of the pine nut syndrome: the scientists of the Belgian Poisons Centre who first reported the syndrome in 2001 [Abstract here] and the scientists of the Nestle Research Centre who developed the method for botanical identification of pine nuts [Abstract here] have collaborated to investigate the botanical origin of the commercial pine nuts responsible for the taste disturbances…….
As of 18th January 2011, the article has been ACCEPTED by the Journal of Toxicology, and is now accessible [HERE]!
Reference: Destaillets, F., Cruz-Hernandez, C., Giuffrida, F., Dionisi, F., Mostin, M., and Verstegen, G. (2011). Identification of the botanical origin of commercial pine nuts responsible for dysgeusia by Gas-Liquid Chromatography analysis of fatty acid profile. Journal of Toxicology, Article in Press.
In a nutshell, this study concludes that P. armandii pine nuts were present pure or in mixture in all 16 samples given to the Belgian Poisons Centre by pine mouth victims. Indeed, it was already rather clear from my earlier posts that the bitter samples (currently at #53) all contain p. armandii and do not all contain the other species. So then why rejoice? Because when research is published in an international peer-reviewed journal, it can then be quoted reliably. The implications of this paper are thus (1) defined way of controlling the problem (problem species identified) and (2) published research can be used to inform and urge the involved parties to control the problem. At least, that’s what I believe and hope that is true.
It will be months before my own research has the possibility of being published (takes months to a year from completion to acceptance in a journal), that is why I gather and share as much as I can on this blog such that consumers and retailers can be informed sooner on how to make the right choices, and hopefully this can help prevent more victims before proper regulatory measures are in place (such things normally take a very long time). However, unlike peer-reviewed journals, acceptance of my personal observations and findings is entirely dependent on your trust of my personal integrity and capabilities.
For those of you who do not wish to read the whole paper, here is the abstract:
ABSTRACT. Over the last 10 years complaints were increasingly reported from consumers that experienced dysgeusia following the consumption of pine nuts. In the present study, pine nuts samples (N=16) from consumers that reported dysgeusia have been analyzed to identify the botanical origin of criticl pine nuts samples. The fatty acid composition of the samples was performed and diagnostic index values were used to identify the botanical origin of the samples. Pinus armandii nuts were identified in all the samples pure or in mixture with P. koraiensis nuts. P. armandii is not reported as edible pine nuts by the World Health Organization (WHO). This study confirmed that consumption of P. armandii nuts may lead to dysgeusia. Based on the present study and previous work, we advise import companies to trade pine nuts from traditionally recognized species such as P. pinea, P. sibirica, P. koraiensis, or P. gerardiana.
* Just an add-on, that pictures of these ‘traditionally recognized species’ can be found on my page on ‘Pine Nut Species’.