A toxin is an organic poison — it’s made by plants and animals. Toxins make people sick. If your appendix bursts, toxins are released into your blood stream. Also breathing in a toxin like ricin will make you very ill.

Toxins are naturally occurring poisons. There are the toxins your body creates and some that animals and plants excrete. Some are harmful — getting stung by a stingray can kill you because its toxin is powerful. Toxin is the noun form of toxic. The most dangerous kind of toxin is the botulinus toxin, which is the kind found in the bacteria of spoiled food and is used to make Botox. Another dangerous toxin, ricin, is made from castor beans.

Definitions of toxin

n a poisonous substance produced during the metabolism and growth of certain microorganisms and some higher plant and animal species

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ricin, ricin toxin
a toxic protein extracted from castor beans; used as a chemical reagent; can be used as a bioweapon
animal toxin, zootoxin
a toxin resembling bacterial toxins in its antigenic properties that is found in the fluids of certain animals
bacterial toxin
any endotoxin or exotoxin formed in or elaborated by bacterial cells
any substance that has a toxic effect on cells
a toxin that is confined inside the microorganisms and is released only when the microorganisms are broken down or die
a toxin that is secreted by microorganisms into the surrounding medium
any toxin that affects the liver
any toxin that affects the kidneys
neurolysin, neurotoxin
any toxin that affects neural tissues
phytotoxin, plant toxin
any substance produced by plants that is similar in its properties to extracellular bacterial toxin
botulinum toxin
any of several neurotoxins that are produced by the anaerobic bacterium Clostridium botulinum; causes muscle paralysis
domoic acid
a neurotoxin that is deadly for humans; found in various marine algae
Clostridium perfringens epsilon toxin, epsilon toxin
a bacterial toxin produced by clostridium perfringens; causes intense abdominal cramps and diarrhea that begins 8-22 hours after consumption of foods containing large numbers of these bacteria
an alkaloid poison that occurs in tobacco; used in medicine and as an insecticide
an alkaloid plant toxin extracted chiefly from nux vomica; formerly used as a stimulant
a bitter alkaloid poison resembling strychnine and extracted from nux vomica
poisonous drug derived from an Eurasian plant of the genus Conium
a powerful neurotoxin produced by certain dinoflagellates found in red tides; it can accumulate in mollusks that feed on the dinoflagellates and cause food poisoning to humans
anatoxin, toxoid
a bacterial toxin that has been weakened until it is no longer toxic but is strong enough to induce the formation of antibodies and immunity to the specific disease caused by the toxin
botulin, botulinus toxin, botulismotoxin
potent bacterial toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum that causes botulism; can be used as a bioweapon
a cytotoxin specific for the cells of the intestinal mucosa
a toxin produced by a fungus
toxin secreted by animals; secreted by certain snakes and poisonous insects (e.g., spiders and scorpions)
kokoi venom
a potent neurotoxin found in a particular frog
a powerful neurotoxin found in the ovaries of pufferfish
curare, tubocurarine
a toxic alkaloid found in certain tropical South American trees that is a powerful relaxant for striated muscles
Type of:
poison, poisonous substance, toxicant
any substance that causes injury or illness or death of a living organism

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