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Since the discovery of the toxic alkaloids which are formed in decomposing animal matter, the question has arisen as to whether these same alkaloids, or different alkaloids, are not formed during life in certain diseases which seem to terminate as though by some poison. In a recent article on this subject, M. A. Villiers says that in spite of the many attempts that have been hitherto made to demonstrate the formation of these alkaloids, their existence does not appear to him to be entirely established. In November, 1884, he examined the organs of two choleraics for these alkaloids; the organs were examined twenty-four and twelve hours after death, respectively, and the results were identical.
By Stas' method he found an alkaloid well characterized by its alkaline reaction, and by its chemical reactions; it was found in considerable quantity in the intestine (as much as 2 centigrammes of the crystallized hydrochlorate),
THE FORMATION OF PTOMAINES IN CHOLERA. JAMA. 1885;IV(23):633–634. doi:10.1001/jama.1885.02390980017005
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