Cyanogenic glycosides are natural plant toxins that are present in several plants, most of which are consumed by humans. Cyanide is formed following the hydrolysis of cyanogenic glycosides that occur during crushing of the edible plant material either during consumption or during processing of the food crop. Exposure to cyanide from unintentional or intentional consumption of cyanogenic glycosides may lead to acute intoxications, characterized by growth retardation and neurological symptoms resulting from tissue damage in the central nervous system (CNS). Processing methods can detoxify cyanogenic glycosides and reduce the risk of cyanide poisoning. The efficiency of cyanide removal, however, depends on the processing technique employed and the extent of processing. Processing operations such as fermentation, boiling/cooking, and drying, applied to process food‐containing cyanogenic glycosides have been reported to reduce cyanide content to acceptably safe levels. The present review discusses the level of cyanogenic glycosides in specific plant foods, health implications of consuming cyanogenic plants and effect of various processing method on cyanogenic glycosides with updated information gathered from the published reports on cyanogenic glycosides.
Part of the book: Toxicology