Definition of solanine in US English:



  • A poisonous compound which is present in green potatoes and in related plants. It is a steroid glycoside of the saponin group.

    • ‘Cereals grow in full sunlight, but the potato grows in the cold, dark soil as a swollen stem, usually striving for the sunlight, where it develops the poisonous substance solanine.’
    • ‘For example, potatoes contain solanine, mushrooms have strychnine, apples and apricots have cyanide.’
    • ‘The ripe potato contains traces of solanine but its flowers, green leaves and sprouts contain higher levels of this toxin and are very poisonous.’
    • ‘White potatoes contain solanine, which has been shown to cause a very toxic effect in susceptible people, contributing to arthritis, calcium depletion, and stiff joints, as well as painful wrists, ankles, and knees.’
    • ‘The fat-soluble neurotoxins solanine and chaconine are present in potatoes and can be detected in the bloodstream of all potato eaters.’


Mid 19th century: from French, from the genus name Solanum + -ine.