alpha-Solanine and alpha-chaconine are two naturally occurring steroidal glycoalkaloids in potatoes (Solanum tuberosum), and solanidine-N-oxide is a corresponding steroidal aglycone. The objective of this research was to screen potential cyto-toxicity of these potato glycoalkaloids using bovine oocyte maturation, in vitro fertilization techniques and subsequent embryonic development as the in vitro model. A randomized complete block design with four in vitro oocyte maturation (IVM) treatments (Experiment 1) and four in vitro embryo culture (IVC) treatments (Experiment 2) was used. In Experiment 1, bovine oocytes (n=2506) were matured in vitro in medium supplemented with 6 microM of alpha-solanine, alpha-chaconine, solanidine-N-oxide or IVM medium only. The in vitro matured oocytes were then subject to routine IVF and IVC procedures. Results indicated that exposure of bovine oocytes to the steroidal glycoalkaloids during in vitro maturation inhibited subsequent pre-implantation embryo development. Potency of the embryo-toxicity varied between these steroidal glycoalkaloids. In Experiment 2, IVM/IVF derived bovine embryos (n=2370) were cultured in vitro in medium supplemented with 6 microM of alpha-solanine, alpha-chaconine, solanidine-N-oxide or IVC medium only. The results showed that the pre-implantation embryo development is inhibited by exposure to these glycoalkaloids. This effect is significant during the later pre-implantation embryo development period as indicated by fewer numbers of expanded and hatched blastocysts produced in the media containing these alkaloids. Therefore, we conclude that in vitro exposure of oocytes and fertilized ova to the steroidal glycoalkaloids from potatoes inhibits pre-implantation embryo development. Furthermore, we suggest that ingestion of Solanum species containing toxic amounts of glycoalkaloids may have negative effects on pre-implantation embryonic survival.