9

If Fremen ride them, couldn't they also eat them?

There some passages from Kynes about the ecology of Dune that dive deep into the biomechanics of worms, but maybe I am missing something.

Someone that has made the change could feasibly eat a sandworm sandwich and not be poisoned. Alternatively, it could be a vector for the change.

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    Obviously a Reverend Mother can eat almost anything since they possess the ability to change the molecular structure of things they eat, but I suspect the acid would burn them horribly before they could do so. – Valorum Feb 16 at 19:31
  • I’d say getting it would be harder than eating it! – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 16 at 22:10
  • I don't remember seeing even a single mention of a sandworm recipe or dinner in the Dune series, though Frank Herbert did describe food now and then, e.g., "portyguls." – Invisible Trihedron Feb 16 at 22:31
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    Why would being able to ride something mean you can eat it? – Azor Ahai Feb 17 at 3:56
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    Commercial aircraft. If humans ride them, couldn't they also eat them? – Greg Schmit Feb 17 at 15:09
15

The Dune Encyclopedia strongly implies that sandworm flesh is inedible and almost certainly poisonous.

The resulting electrons passed to an electron acceptor believed to be a cupri-cyanide compound, the reduced form of which accumulated in the worm body.

and

Our knowledge of the metabolism of the sandworm is necessarily incomplete, not only because of the size of the creature, but also because of the presence of many acidic compounds in the worm body. Besides the organic acids, concentrated hydrochloric and sulfuric acids have also been detected. In some way the living worm buffered itself against these acids, but once the worm died, the body was rapidly digested by them.

While eating something that contains poisons isn't necessarily impossible, it's hard to imagine what processes you could use to remove cyanide and highly corrosive and toxic acids from the meat before eating it.

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  • 4
    Meh, some baking powder, might do the trick. Also transition metal cyanides aren't necessarily poisonous. – Mithoron Feb 16 at 23:41
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    "transition metal cyanides aren't necessarily poisonous" - Maybe, but copper cyanide is pretty toxic. Ingesting 100g would be over the LD50 for most people. Though I guess as long as the worm's flesh is less than 50% copper cyanide by mass (and it probably should be) a person could eat a modestly sized sandworm sandwich and not necessarily die. – aroth Feb 17 at 4:24
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    Please note that the Dune Encyclopedia is not canon. – Mr Lister Feb 17 at 7:55
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    @MrLister - Canon at the time, then de-canonised by Herbert's talentless son so he could cash in with his own twenty book series based on a post-it note he found on the fridge in his father's house – Valorum Feb 17 at 7:59
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    @Valorum No no, FH himself said he liked it but he wouldn't let it stand in the way of the real story. In a foreword to the original edition. – Mr Lister Feb 17 at 8:04

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