Content of atropine and scopolamine in poisonous solanaceae plants from Slovenia
Background: Some species from the Solanaceae family are still the cause of serious poisoning among youth in Slovenia. Usually intoxication is due to abuse of these plants to provoke hallucinations. There is still not enough data about the alkaloid content of these plants growing in Slovenia.
Methods: Different plant samples were analyzed for the content of atropine and scopolamine with capillary electrophoresis after solid phase extraction of alkaloids. Plants were gathered from different areas of Slovenia between April and September 2004.
Results: Results were compared and possible correlations between the alkaloid content and species, plant parts, growth conditions, and time of harvest were suggested. Atropine and scopolamine contents were assessed in deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna L.), thorn apple (Datura stramonium L.), scopolia (Scopolia carniolica Jacq.) and angel trumpet. The common name angel trumpet is used for Datura inoxia Mill. as well as for different Brugmansia Pers. species. The most intriguing results were the variable alkaloid content in various Brugmansia species and generally great differences in alkaloid content among various plants and their plant parts.
Conclusions: All investigated plants have noticeable atropine and/or scopolamine content. The content is variable between various plants and their plant parts and therefore special care should be taken in cases of possible intoxication. It was shown that smaller or greater amounts of ingested drug can cause the same level of intoxication due to the variability in alkaloid content.
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