Field of Science

Cholesterol in plants fun fact

One of the questions I have always asked myself is "Do plants contain cholesterol?". I was under the impression that they don't and that this is precisely the difference between the cholesterol pathway in plants in animals; lanosterol to cholesterol in animals, and to stigmasterol or ergosterol etc. in plants and fungi. Interestingly, none of the 'popular' biochem books I read elaborated on this question or answered in the affirmative.

So it was interesting when I came across this J. Chem. Ed. article which talked about the existence of cholesterol in plants. Apparently, the amount as expected is quite low. But what is more interesting is the authors' study of popular biochem books (Lehninger, Stryer, Garrett and Grisham, Voet etc.) in which they certify that this fact is not mentioned.

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But the most interesting fact may be that the USDA does not state the existence of cholesterol when it is less than 2 mg/serving, which is the case with plant products. I wonder what other product labels Uncle Sam dispenses with when they refer to compounds which are less than a certain percentage. Or maybe they should at least state what upper limits can do, as is the case of that compound in Chicken McNuggets, which can kill you when it's more than 1g.


  1. Good article, I remember reading it almost a year ago now. ;)


  2. Good info, I couldn't check the referenced article since requires as it requires login, but learned something new from your post. Thanks

  3. In case anyone wants to read the original article:

    Go Bucks!


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