Effects of traditional processing methods on the level of cyanide in cassava the case of ocola cultivarr from Pakwach District.
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Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) is the third most important source of calories in the tropics after rice and maize. At present, 80 countries in the tropics and approximately 800 million people rely on cassava as a staple food. Although cassava is cultivated extensively in the tropics, cyanogenic glycosides (linamarin (96%) and lotaustralin (4%) and other anti-nutritional factors, threaten foods safety. Consumption of cassava products with high cyanogens levels may cause acute intoxications. Cyanide poisoning is attributed to inhibition of cytochrome oxidase, preventing electron transport through this complex thereby reducing tissue utilization of oxygen. Prevention of cyanide poisoning hence calls for processing of bitter variety of cassava before consumption. However, little is known about the effectiveness of the traditional processing methods in reducing level of cyanide in cassava. In this study, bitter cassava tubers of Ocola cultivar were obtained from Pakwach district. The tubers were peeled and cut into cubical pieces about 1cubic centimeter and separated into two piles which were then processed by molding and soaking in water. Every 24 hours (for up to 6 days), samples of the pulps being processed were picked out, crashed, and dried under the sun. the dry pulps were ground into flour and tested for cyanide using Prussian blue method. The results showed a gradual decrease in level of cyanide in the flour for both methods. Water soaking had a more significant reduction of cyanide in cassava than the molding method. To achieve a significant reduction in cyanide level, it is advisable that cassava should be processed for at least four days. Adoption of modern processing methods would be a great move in combating cyanide poisoning resulting from consumption of cassava.