ECHO Research - Posters Poster - Cyantesmo Paper for Detecting Cyanide
Some tropical crops contain cyanogenic glycosides, toxic substances that release hydrocyanic acid (HCN; also referred to as cyanide) when cells are crushed. Consuming these plants without cooking them can cause cyanide poisoning, with varying effects depending on cyanide levels and how long a person or animal has been eating that plant. Cassava roots and leaves contain cyanogenic glycosides, so people whose diets are heavily dependent on cassava are especially at risk. Traditional methods to process and detoxify cassava roots include fermentation, prolonged soaking and boiling. Chaya leaves also contain cyanogenic glycosides; it is best to cook chayaleaves before eating them, to boil off the HCN rather than ingesting it. To determine if a plant is safe to consume, either by humans or livestock, a simple cyanide screening test is very helpful. At the 2014 ECHO International Conference in Florida, Dr. Ray Smith provided ECHO with sample strips of Cyantesmopaper for screening plant material for HCN.