Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research (ISSN : 0975-7384)

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Original Articles: 2016 Vol: 8 Issue: 2

Effect of processing on amygdalin and cyanide contents of some Nigerian foods


Amygdalin is a phyto-toxin which occurs in many plant species, of which a number of species are usually consumed by humans. Hydrolysis of amygdalin to produce hydrogen cyanide occurs during processing of plant foods. Consumption of food containing amygdalin and or cyanide can cause serious health problems to animals including humans. Amygdalin and cyanide were extracted from raw cassava roots, cassava products, processed fruit products, nuts, sorghum, cocoyam, bitter leaf, Africa star apple seeds and Cirina forda and determined using spectrophotometric method. The level of amygdalin and cyanide in some raw and processed Nigerian foods was investigated in this study. Our results showed that amygdalin content of cassava roots ranged from 8.8mg/g to 48.3mg/g. Amygdalin was completely hydrolyzed to cyanide during processing of cassava roots to garri and lafun. At each stage of garri and lafun production, amygdalin was not detected but cyanide was detected. The cyanide content of processed cassava was relatively low (5.2-19.1 ppm for garri and 3.5-13.2 ppm for lafun). Amygdalin content of processed fruit products was very low. The results showed that amygdalin and cyanide contents of most of the Nigerian foods analyzed in this study were low and are unlikely to cause health problems to consumers if adequately processed before consumption.