For many years it has been known that plants, when subjected to stress, produce “unusual” metabolites in response to that stress. Some of these metabolites are toxic and, consequently are of concern from the standpoint of contamination of foods. Each year additional stress metabolites are isolated and identified from plants and plant products subjected to stress conditions; these conditions include infection of the plant by microorganisms, mechanical damage during processing or storage, exposure to temperature extremes and the like. The need for an intensive research effort into formation, isolation and characterization, and toxicological evaluation of such metabolites in plants used for human food is discussed.

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