Fugu : the mortal fish

The Takifugu is a fish, best known under the japaneese name Fugu. This fish lives in salted water, and nourish itself with algae, molluscs and little invertebrates. This fish seems normal, but has as particularity…

This fish is highly toxic, although it is eaten in Japan as a very refined dish. Indeed, the fish contains tetrodoxin in its internal organs such as the ovaries and the liver, and also on its skin. Tetrodoxin is a neurotoxic which paralyzes the muscles in only 6 hours and causes asphyxiation. There is no antidote to prevent the effects of that toxin, which makes the Fugu a very dangerous fish for the predators. The tetrodoxin is produced by bacterias (Pseudomonas) living inside the Fugu.

As a result, to be eaten, the Fugu needs to be well-prepared to remove all the toxin. Every year in Japan, a number of people die after consuming Fugu with a lethal dose of tetrodoxin in it. As a result, the japaneese government decided to act : now, only cooks with a special license from the State are authorized to prepare Fugu for the consumers. Even with this special measure, the consumption of Fugu in Japan keeps on killing people…


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