Improved processing methods to reduce the total cyanide content of cassava roots from Burundi.

Milena Lambri, Maria Daria Fumi, Arianna Roda, Dante Marco De Faveri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The identification of highly effective procedures that reduce the cyanogens contained in cassava roots which require no sophisticated equipment, and can readily be adopted by subsistence farmers is of tremendous importance. This study, which used cassava root samples collected in Burundi, included fermentation tests using both selected and native cultures at different temperatures for variable times. Moreover, drying procedures with and without fermentation were carried out. A factorial analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed that the detoxification was mainly affected by fermentation length and by the initial cyanogens content of the roots. When fermentation lasted 48 h and the initial cyanide level was lower than 300 mg/kg dry weight (d.w.), the detoxification was also found to vary based on the microorganism inoculated; Saccharomyces cerevisiae demonstrated the greatest effectiveness. In terms of drying conditions, a temperature of 60°C, even for a shorter duration of time (8 h), lowered the initial cyanide level by more than 90%. Finally, when dehydration followed fermentation, the pressed pulp showed a substantial reduction in cyanide content. By means of this last procedure, safe cassava was produced according to FAO/WHO amendments (10 mg HCN equivalent per kilogram flour), if the initial cyanide level of roots did not exceed 200 mg/kg d.w. Actually, the initial maximum total cyanide content was confirmed to be fundamental in order to obtain safe products in relation to processing method adopted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2685-2691
Number of pages7
JournalAfrican Journal of Biotechnology
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Cassava
  • Cyanide
  • Food safety
  • Toxicity


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