It may sound silly, but it appeared to me as a theoretical possibility; not a practical fear.

On a healthy and correctly folded protein if cooking process is applied (that includes heating and mixing with various other things), is there by any chance a possibility to develop a prion?

  • $\begingroup$ This is a good question, and I think there is definitely a possibility. It depends on what you define as "prion" -- must it be infectious? or just pathogenic? The 'plagues' we observe in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's seem not infectious, but are pathogenic nonetheless. There is no reason why they cannot occur in food; but protein is digested and decomposed into small peptides and amino acids, and even after that, cannot easily cross the blood-brain barrier. $\endgroup$ Aug 6, 2021 at 7:10

1 Answer 1


Just my speculation here. Prions seem to need some sort of template to guide their folding as well as the cooperation of chaperone proteins. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prion I would suspect that denaturing, and potential re-folding, of proteins during cooking would be rather random. So even if one, or very few, copies of a potential prion happened to be produced, the high temperatures, rapid pace of denaturation and the lack of chaperone proteins would not allow the formation of meaningful amount of potential prions to cause disease. Add to that the doubtful chance a prion would be produced in the first place, due to the lack of the usual physiological conditions and participants, feel free to eat cooked food!


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