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Cyanogenic glycosides in plant-based foods available in New Zealand


Cyanogenic glycosides occur in a wide range of plant species. The potential toxicity of cyanogenic glycosides arises from enzymatic degradation to produce hydrogen cyanide, which may result in acute cyanide poisoning and has also been implicated in the aetiology of several chronic diseases. One hundred retail foods were sampled and analysed for the presence of total hydrocyanic acid using an acid hydrolysis-isonicotinic/barbituric acid colourimetric method. Food samples included cassava, bamboo shoots, almonds and almond products, pome fruit products, flaxseed/linseed, stone fruit products, lima beans, and various seeds and miscellaneous products, including taro leaves, passion fruit, spinach and canned stuffed vine leaves. The concentrations of total hydrocyanic acid (the hydrocyanic acid equivalents of all cyanogenic compounds) found were consistent with or lower than concentrations reported in the scientific literature. Linseed/flaxseed contained the highest concentrations of total hydrocyanic acid of any of the analysed foods (91-178

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