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Tyrotoxicon--cheese Poison

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i At the meeting of the Michigan State Board of Health, July H, 1885, Dr. V. C. Vaughan presented a report of hls investigations on poisonous cheese. It is well known that cases of severe illnesa follow the cating of soine cheesc. Such instance are of frequent occurrencc in the iiorth Germán countries and in tho l'nited States. In England they are less frequently observed; wbile in F ranee wherc much cheese ia made and eaten, these cases are said to occur very rjircly. A few years ago, tlie reputation of a large cheese faetory in northern Ohio was destroyed by the great number of c.ises of alarming illness ariaing Croo eating is cheese. Dairymeu know this cheese as "sick" cheese. KINDS OF CHBKSK WUICH A.KE POISONOUS. A Germán author says: "The numerous kinds of soft cheese, prepared in small families, or on sinall farms are gencrally the cause of tho symptoms; while it is quite exceptional to hear of symptoms arising from the use of cheese prepared in Iarge quantities." Somo two years ago, a family in Alpena, Mich , was poisoned by eating of cottage cheese; but the cheese which poisoned so many in this state last year was mado at one of the largcst factories in the state, and by a thoroughly experienced cheese-maker. The old foul-smelling cheese, such as Limburger and Schweitzer, have never been known to be poisonous. EFFECTS OF THE CHEESE. The symptotns produced by "sick" cheese, as roported by Gorman and American physicians, agree quite closely and are as follows: Dryness of the mouth and throat with a sense of constriction, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, headache, sometimes doublé visión, and marked nervous prostration. In rare instances the Buflerer dies from collapse. As a rule, recovery occurs in a few hours, or at most after a few days. The symptonis of checse-poisoning and thosc of sausage, canneil ments and fish poisoninff are very similar. Thoiigh death results more frequently f rooi the others mentione'J thau from cheese-poisoniiifr. APPEARANCE OF THE CÜEESKS. The sample of chees examlned liad no peculiarities of appearance, odor or taste, by which it could be distinguished from good cheese. It Is true that tf two pleees of cheese- one poisonous md the other wholesorae- were offured to dog or a cat, the animal would select the ;oo,i clieese. But this was due to au acuU-uess f tfee KDM of sinell possessed by the ' aiiiiiial and Dot belongiüg to umn. Indccii, fa per.son tasted a clieese knowiin; that it was poisonous, he might detecta sliarpness of taste which would not ordiiirily be notiopd. ( HAVE WE ANY MKws ííií nvra.iur1! POISONOÜS CHEESE? There s no certain means asid.i fioin a cliemical examination, by wliich ;i poisonous clieese can be dtstlngiilslied f rom a wholesome one. The most reüable reHdy method l probahly proposed by Dr. Vausrhan a year ago, as follows: Press a smal! strip of lltmus paper (wbicb can be obtaiiifd at any drii; store) ajrainst a fieshly cut surface of the clieese, If tbe paper is rtddélred instantly and intensely the cheeae may be rejrarded witli suspicion. When treated in this way any green clieese wil! redden the litmus paper, bilt ordinaiily the reddenfag will be produced slowly and will be sliht. If the piece of cheese be dry, a small bit should be rubbed up witli an equal volume of water, and the paper the be dipped in the water. Dr. Vausjhan does not repard the above test as free from error, hut as the most rellable ready means now known. Every grocery-nnn should apply this test to eaoh fiCRh cheese whlch he ciits. The depth of the reddenintf of proucecl by cheese wliich is known to 5e KFFKCTS ON THK LOWER ANIMAI.8. Dota and cats, at least, are not affected by eating poisonous cheese. This is probably due to the faet tliHt tlipy do not get eiiüiigh of tlie poison trom the amount of cheese whicb tliey eat. The pure isolated poiaon In sufflcient dóses would undoubtedly produce upon the lovver animal efteets similar to those produced on man. NATURE OP TUE POISON. Dr. Vaiiglian lias succeeded Id isolnting the poison, to whlch he has glven the name tyrotoxicon (frotn two Greek words wliich mean cheese and pplson). It isa product of elijfht putrefaction In the cheese which probably O'curs ln 'he vat, as tlie curd has been known to poison a person. By this slijrht putrefaction, or excessive fermentación as it mny be called, h large amount of butyrlê acid is fornied, and this in the presence of the caseln of the cheeec is capable of developing a poisoii. Diíferent samplen of poisonoiis cheese contain different amounts of the poison. The same welght of cheese from one cakn furnished three times as much poi8on as tliat from another cake. The poisojj was obtiined in long needleshaped crystals wliich are freely soluble in water, chloroform, alcohol and ether. The smal lest visible fragmente of a crystal placed upon the end of the tongne causes a sharp, stinging pain at the polnt ot application, and In a few minutes, dryness and coustriction of tbc throat. A slightly larper amount produced nnusea, vomiting and diarrho3a. The poison is volatile at the temperaturc of boiling water, and tbr tbis reason even poUonous cheese may be eaten with impunity aftcr being cooked. The substance hag alsoa markcd pungent odor, and through the nose one can obtain sufticieit of the volátil? poison to produce dryness of the throat. This is ir je. however, only of the isolated poison. Ia the cheese, the taste and odor of the poison are both modified to such an extent that they would not be recojfiiized, as has already been stated. The first step in the study of cheese poisonin has now been taken, by flndlng out what the poison is. Efforts will be made to ascertaln the meaus for preventii3g its formation.


Ann Arbor Courier
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