Document Detail


Chronic intake of fermented floral nectar by wild treeshrews.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  18663222     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
For humans alcohol consumption often has devastating consequences. Wild mammals may also be behaviorally and physiologically challenged by alcohol in their food. Here, we provide a detailed account of chronic alcohol intake by mammals as part of a coevolved relationship with a plant. We discovered that seven mammalian species in a West Malaysian rainforest consume alcoholic nectar daily from flower buds of the bertam palm (Eugeissona tristis), which they pollinate. The 3.8% maximum alcohol concentration (mean: 0.6%; median: 0.5%) that we recorded is among the highest ever reported in a natural food. Nectar high in alcohol is facilitated by specialized flower buds that harbor a fermenting yeast community, including several species new to science. Pentailed treeshrews (Ptilocercus lowii) frequently consume alcohol doses from the inflorescences that would intoxicate humans. Yet, the flower-visiting mammals showed no signs of intoxication. Analysis of an alcohol metabolite (ethyl glucuronide) in their hair yielded concentrations higher than those in humans with similarly high alcohol intake. The pentailed treeshrew is considered a living model for extinct mammals representing the stock from which all extinct and living treeshrews and primates radiated. Therefore, we hypothesize that moderate to high alcohol intake was present early on in the evolution of these closely related lineages. It is yet unclear to what extent treeshrews benefit from ingested alcohol per se and how they mitigate the risk of continuous high blood alcohol concentrations.
Authors:
Frank Wiens; Annette Zitzmann; Marc-André Lachance; Michel Yegles; Fritz Pragst; Friedrich M Wurst; Dietrich von Holst; Saw Leng Guan; Rainer Spanagel
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2008-07-28
Journal Detail:
Title:  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America     Volume:  105     ISSN:  1091-6490     ISO Abbreviation:  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.     Publication Date:  2008 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-07-30     Completed Date:  2008-08-28     Revised Date:  2013-06-05    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7505876     Medline TA:  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  10426-31     Citation Subset:  IM    
Affiliation:
Tierphysiologie, Universität Bayreuth, 95440 Bayreuth, Germany.
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MeSH Terms
Descriptor/Qualifier:
Alcohol Drinking
Alcoholic Intoxication
Alcohols / metabolism*
Animals
Biological Markers / metabolism
Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
Female
Fermentation
Flowers
Hair / metabolism
Male
Mammals
Pollen / chemistry*
Pollination
Tupaiidae
Chemical
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Alcohols; 0/Biological Markers
Comments/Corrections

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