liu.seSearch for publications in DiVA
Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Endogenous ethanol "auto-brewery syndrome" as a drunk-driving defence challenge.
Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Linköping University, Department of Biomedicine and Surgery, Clinical Chemistry.
2000 (English)In: Medicine, Science and the Law, ISSN 0025-8024, Vol. 40, no 3, 206-215 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The concentration of ethanol in blood, breath or urine constitutes important evidence for prosecuting drunk drivers. For various reasons, the reliability of the results of forensic alcohol analysis are often challenged by the defence. One such argument for acquittal concerns the notion that alcohol could be produced naturally in the body, hence the term 'auto-brewery' syndrome. Although yeasts such as Candida albicans readily produce ethanol in-vitro, whether this happens to any measurable extent in healthy ambulatory subjects is an open question. Over the years, many determinations of endogenous ethanol have been made, and in a few rare instances (Japanese subjects with very serious yeast infections) an abnormally high ethanol concentration (>80 mg/dl) has been reported. In these atypical individuals, endogenous ethanol appeared to have been produced after they had eaten carbohydrate-rich foods. A particular genetic polymorphism resulting in reduced activity of enzymes involved in hepatic metabolism of ethanol and a negligible first-pass metabolism might explain ethnic differences in rates of endogenous ethanol production and clearance. Other reports of finding abnormally high concentrations of ethanol in body fluids from ostensibly healthy subjects suffer from deficiencies in study design and lack suitable control experiments or used non-specific analytical methods. With reliable gas chromatographic methods of analysis, the concentrations of endogenous ethanol in peripheral venous blood of healthy individuals, as well as those suffering from various metabolic disorders (diabetes, hepatitis, cirrhosis) ranged from 0-0.88 mg/dl. These concentrations are far too low to have any forensic or medical significance. The notion that a motorist's state of intoxication was caused by endogenously produced ethanol lacks merit.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2000. Vol. 40, no 3, 206-215 p.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-25154Local ID: 9588OAI: diva2:245481
Available from: 2009-10-07 Created: 2009-10-07 Last updated: 2012-03-21

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Jones, A Wayne
By organisation
Faculty of Health SciencesClinical Chemistry
In the same journal
Medicine, Science and the Law
Medical and Health Sciences

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Total: 49 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link