Water plays an important role in food security and provides the basis for healthy ecosystems and human well-being. The relationship between water and food production is key to creating resilient and sustainable food systems. This chapter will discuss the effects of water quality and scarcity with respect to food security in Africa. The effects of water availability and its usage in the African landscape and how this has impacted food security will be highlighted. Lastly, issues concerning water pollution and food safety will be tackled to identify knowledge gaps that impede food security in Africa in its efforts toward attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Part of the book: Food Security in Africa
Cyanogenic glycosides are natural phytotoxins produced by over 2000 plant species, many of which are consumed by humans. The important food crops that contain cyanogenic glycosides include cassava (Manihot esculenta), sorghum (Sorghum bicolor), cocoyam (Colocasia esculenta L. and Xanthosoma sagittifolium L.), bamboo (Bambusa vulgaris), apple (Malus domestica), and apricot (Prunus armeniaca). Cyanogenic glycosides and their derivatives have amino acid-derived aglycones, which spontaneously degrade to release highly toxic hydrogen cyanide (HCN). Dietary cyanide exposure has been associated with several health challenges such as acute cyanide poisoning, growth retardation, and neurological disorders. This chapter will introduce general cyanogenesis principles, highlight major food plants with lethal cyanide levels, and provide epidemiological-based health conditions linked to cyanide intake. Furthermore, strategies for elimination of cyanogens from food crops, such as processing technologies, will be discussed. Finally, the chapter will analyze the role of cyanogenic plants in ensuring food security among resource-poor communities.
Part of the book: Medical Toxicology