The cyanogenic potential of certain cassava varieties in Uganda and their fermentation-based detoxification
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Cassava is the leading staple food in the developing world, providing an essential diet for about half a billion individuals. However, cassava contains significantly toxic compounds, the cyanogenic glycosides. Ingestion of such toxins in large quantities can lead to acute cyanide poisoning and may cause death in both humans and animals. Therefore, cassava may present a potential health risk to consumers. Information regarding the cyanogenic glycoside content is vital in averting health risks associated with cassava consumption. Accordingly, the seven most common local cultivars in Zombo district and six improved cultivars were grown and later characterized based on their cyanogenic potential. Additionally, the root tubers of Nyar-udota and Nyar-papoga were fermented to detoxify them from the cyanogens. The cyanogenic glycoside levels in the selected cultivars surpassed the critical value of 10 ppm established by the World Health Organization. The improved cassava had lower and moderately identical concentrations of HCN, unlike the local varieties. Cyanogenic contents were highest at 8-10 months. Fermentation led to substantial detoxification of the cyanogens, and the decrease varied with the fermentation period. In making choices for the cultivation and consumption of cassava, it is crucial to consider the cultivar, period of harvesting, and detoxification by fermentation.