toxin


toxin

noun

  1. any poison produced by an organism, characterized by antigenicity in certain animals and high molecular weight, and including the bacterial toxins that are the causative agents of tetanus, diphtheria, etc., and such plant and animal toxins as ricin and snake venom.

noun

  1. any of various poisonous substances produced by microorganisms that stimulate the production of neutralizing substances (antitoxins) in the bodySee also endotoxin, exotoxin
  2. any other poisonous substance of plant or animal origin
n.

“organic poison,” especially one produced by bacteria in an animal body, 1886, from toxic + -in (2).

n.

  1. A poisonous substance, especially a protein, that is produced by living cells or organisms and is capable of causing disease when introduced into the body tissues but is often also capable of inducing neutralizing antibodies or antitoxins.

  1. A poisonous substance, especially one produced by a living organism. Toxins can be products or byproducts of ordinary metabolism, such as lactic acid, and they must be broken down or excreted before building up to dangerous levels. Toxins can facilitate survival, as with snake venom that kills or immobilizes prey, or cyanide produced by some plants as a defense against being eaten. Bacterial toxins can sometimes be neutralized with antitoxins. Compare antitoxin.

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