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Staring into the abyss

Son says that pineapple has an enzyme that allows the leaves of it to digest bugs and use their nutrients. He then added that the same thing is present in pineapple meat.

"So--" He said, "When you are digesting pineapple, it is digesting you too"

"Wait a minute," I said. "If you wanted to, you could execute a person by covering them with pineapple chunks?"

"Well," He said, "It would exfoliate them first."

I am torn between wanting this to be true about pineapple, and now being a little afraid of it.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 6th, 2013 07:46 am (UTC)
Ah but would execution by pineapple count as cruel and unusual punishment?
Dec. 6th, 2013 10:18 am (UTC)
I remember a Hawaii Five O episode where the villain worked in a pineapple factory, and the fruit had digested his fingerprints - or at least rendered them un-distinguishable for the time being.

I don't know whether it's true or not. I doubted it, but your son would appear to confirm it ...
Dec. 6th, 2013 12:20 pm (UTC)
I learned on QI that pineapple juice will damage the epidermis and may therefore make you lose your fingerprints, albeit temporarily.

Apparently, they contain enzymes that help your body to burn fat. However, I've no idea whether this is true or one of those nutritional-science related myths that crop up in the media and are then propagated as facts. Maybe your son might know?
Dec. 6th, 2013 12:38 pm (UTC)
Would it not depend on whether the enzyme concerned gets denatured in your stomach?
Dec. 6th, 2013 05:15 pm (UTC)
I love pineapple, but it burns my mouth when I eat it, so this must be true! (/silly)

Hmm. http://blogs.unimelb.edu.au/sciencecommunication/2012/10/07/the-flesh-eating-pineapple/ says "Pineapple is the only known source in nature of the enzyme Bromelain. Bromelain actually digest proteins… so when you eat pineapple. It’s essentially eating you back! But don’t worry, once you swallow the pineapple the acids in your stomach destroy the enzymes." So your son is right!
Dec. 7th, 2013 03:38 pm (UTC)
Puts a rather different complexion on Hornblower's choice of gift for Mr Bush! :}
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )