Re: non-toxic pufferfish (Fugu)

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Posted by . on June 10, 2004 at 23:19:48:

In Reply to: non-toxic pufferfish (Fugu) posted by Chris on June 10, 2004 at 23:10:47:

Hungry Japanese detoxify poison fish

Tokyo, Japan, Jun. 10 (UPI) -- Scientists have found a way to detoxify the deadly fugu puffer fish, robbing the thrill of surviving it from Japanese gourmets.

Nagasaki University researchers produced the poison-free fugu by separating them from other marine life and feeding them cleansed and purified food.

Marine scientists believe tetrodotoxin, the venom that concentrates in the fugu's liver and ovaries, is caused by poisonous bacteria ingested in the sea. When 4,800 of the isolated fish were dissected, it was found that their livers were poison-free, The Times of London said.

The find threatens the livelihoods of Japan's fugu chefs, who are specially licensed by the government to remove the deadly organs from the fish and who charge lavishly for their expertise.

Survivors of fugu poisoning have described euphoria and a gradual numbing of the body before the inevitable paralysis, vomiting, diarrhea and loss of consciousness.

Yet fugu aficionados claim the presence of a small amount of poison, and the tingling sensation it produces in the lips and gums is the key to the appeal of the fish.

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