Tutin (toxin)

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Tutin structure.png
Systematic (IUPAC) name
2a,3a-epoxy- 3a,4a,5,6,7,7a-hexahydro- 3aα,6β,7β-trihydroxy- 5α-isopropyl- 7aα-methylspiro (indan-1,2'-oxirane)- γ-lactone
CAS Number 2571-22-4 YesY
ATC code none
PubChem CID: 75729
Chemical data
Formula C15H18O6
Molecular mass 294.299 g/mol

Tutin is a poisonous plant derivative found in the New Zealand tutu plant (Coriaria arborea, Coriaria genus, several different species). It acts as a potent antagonist of the glycine receptor,[1] and has powerful convulsant effects.[2] It is used in scientific research into the glycine receptor, and is also sometimes associated with outbreaks of toxic honey poisoning when bees feed honeydew exudate from the sap-sucking insect commonly known as the passion vine hopper, when these vine hoppers (Scolypopa australis) have been feeding on the sap of tutu bushes. Toxic honey is a rare event and is more likely to occur when comb honey is eaten directly from a hive that has been harvesting honeydew from passion vine hoppers feeding on tutu plants.[3]


  1. Fuentealba J, Guzmán L, Manríquez-Navarro P, Pérez C, Silva M, Becerra J, Aguayo LG. Inhibitory effects of tutin on glycine receptors in spinal neurons. European Journal of Pharmacology. 2007 Mar 15;559(1):61-4. PMID 17303114
  2. Zhou H, Tang YH, Zheng Y. A new rat model of acute seizures induced by tutin. Brain Research. 2006 May 30;1092(1):207-13. PMID 16674929
  3. Background on toxic honey. New Zealand Food Safety Authority.