Deadliest Toxin?

David Reeves dcr22 at
Sun Jan 12 10:29:54 EST 1997

Depree, Jonathan A <depreej at> wrote in article
<depreej.163.000998B5 at>...

> One molecule of ricin will kill one cell. I suspect that one molecule of 
> botulinus toxin will kill one nerve cell. The bacterial toxins are pretty

> deadly, I seem to recall that three reasonably active cells of C tetani
> produce enough toxin to kill an average human in good health.
> Actually human toxicity is a bit problematic. Feeding toxin to students
> half of them die is frowned upon in most societies. What we usually do is
> the dose for rats (or similar animals). There is some evidence that some 
> toxins (like tetrodotoxin from puffer fish) are much more toxic whereas
> (like dioxin) are much less toxic to humans. It'll do until we find
> better.

Apparently Botulinum is toxic with "a few" molecules per nerve terminal;
interestingly in humans it is sometimes used to treat eyelid spasms  :)


			David C Reeves  LTCL
Postal: 617, King's College, Cambridge, CB2 1ST 

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