Focus Taiwan App

2 conditions required for Bongkrekic acid to become lethal: Doctor

03/30/2024 03:34 PM
To activate the text-to-speech service, please first agree to the privacy policy below.
CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, March 30 (CNA) Two difficult-to-achieve conditions are required for Bongkrekic acid to be lethal, according to Yang Chen-chang (楊振昌), head of the Department of Occupational Medicine and Clinical Toxicology at Taipei Veterans General Hospital.

While the eight individuals designated "severe cases" in the ongoing food poisoning outbreak have all tested positive for the toxin Bongkrekic acid, Yang urged the public not to panic as the acid is rare.

The bacterium that induced Bongkrekic acid, Burkholderia gladioli, is ubiquitous in soil, but two conditions have to be met for the bacterium to produce lethal Bongkrekic acid, Yang told CNA on Friday.

The first condition is an environment suitable for the bacterium to reproduce, but this is not easily achieved, as certain levels of temperature, pH scale, and salinity have to be reached at the same time, Yang said.

The bacterium proliferates in an environment of a temperature of 22 to 33 degrees Celsius, a neutral pH scale, and a salinity of lower than 2 percent, the doctor said.

The second condition is that enough time -- one to two days -- has to pass for the bacterium to reproduce for the toxin to become lethal, Yang said, adding that toxin from one to two hours of reproduction time would only cause mild symptoms such as abdominal pain or diarrhea.

Deputy Minister of Health Victor Wang (王必勝) told reporters on Friday evening that the eight individuals designated "severe cases" had all tested positive for the toxin Bongkrekic acid, confirming it as the source of the poisoning.

However, as the contamination was restricted to a certain branch of the restaurant and a certain time, there are no signs of proliferation, Wang said.

Meanwhile, the Agriculture and Food Agency of the Ministry of Agriculture explained on Saturday that while Bongkrekic acid was translated into a Chinese name containing the character for "rice," the acid has no direct relation to rice.

As of 10 a.m. on Saturday, 25 people had reported falling ill after eating at the Xinyi branch of the Malaysian restaurant chain Polam Kopitiam in Taipei. Of those, two have died, five remain in intensive care, and one is being treated in a general ward.

(By Chen Chieh-ling, Shen Pei-yao, Wu Hsin-yun, and Alison Hsiao)


Related News

Q&A/Four things to know about Bongkrekic acid

March 30: 3 more cases reported in Taipei food poisoning outbreak

March 29: Owner of restaurant chain at center of food poisoning outbreak apologizes

March 29: Bongkrekic acid found in 8 food poisoning cases; none in food samples

March 29: Keelung, Yilan, Hualien stop using flat rice noodles in school lunches

March 27: Taipei restaurant chain closed amid probe into suspected food poisoning deaths

March 27: Suspected food poisoning outbreak in Taipei restaurant leaves one dead

    We value your privacy.
    Focus Taiwan (CNA) uses tracking technologies to provide better reading experiences, but it also respects readers' privacy. Click here to find out more about Focus Taiwan's privacy policy. When you close this window, it means you agree with this policy.