Plant Poisons in the Garden: A Human Risk Assessment

Samantha L. Bowerbank, Matteo D. Gallidabino, John R. Dean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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A study of the plants, and their associated poisons, in the Poison Garden at The Alnwick Garden was undertaken across a calendar year. By selecting 25 plants in the Poison Garden, we have been able to develop a single chromatographic method for the determination and quantification of 15 plant toxins by liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS). Chromatographic separation was achieved on a C18 column (3.5 µm, 100 × 4.6 mm) with a gradient method using water +0.1% formic acid and methanol +0.1% formic acid. The developed method was validated for precision, linearity, limits of detection and quantification and extraction recoveries. The method showed good linearity with a R2 value of >0.995 for all 15 compounds with good precision of 10.7%, 6.7% and 0.3% for the low, medium and high calibration points, respectively. The LC-MS method was used to analyse 25 plant species, as well as their respective parts (i.e., bulb, flower, fruit, leaf, pollen, seed, stem and root), to assess the human risk assessment to children (aged 1 to <2 years) in relation to the plant toxin and its respective LD50. The analysis found that the greatest potential health risks were due to the ingestion of Colchicum autumnale and Atropa belladonna. As a caution, all identified plants should be handled with care with additional precautionary steps to ensure nil contact by children because of the potential likelihood of hand-to-mouth ingestion.
Original languageEnglish
Article number308
Number of pages15
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2022


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