Correlation between cyanogenic glucoside content and taste of fresh cassava roots. (169)


  • J.D. Kalenga Saka Department of Chemistry, Chancellor College, University of Malawi, P.O. Box 280, Zomba Malawi
  • Alber R.K. Mhone Department of Chemistry, Chancellor College, University of Malawi, P.O. Box 280, Zomba Malawi
  • Jonathan Mkambira Bvumbwe Agricultural Research Station, Limbe, Malawi
  • Leon Brimer Department of Pharmacology, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Mpoko Bokanga International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan, Nigeria
  • Nzola M. Mahungu International Institute of Tropical Agriculture/Southern Africa Root Crops Research Network, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania
  • Linely Chiwona-Karltun Department od Nutrition and Unit for International Child Health, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • Hans Rosling Division of Public health, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden


Cassava tubers, Bitterness, Taste, Cyanogenic glucosides, Linamarin, Correlation, Malawi


Two roots were collected from each of 246 plants of the 10 most commonly-grown cassava cultivars in a farming community in Nkhata Bay District, Malawi. Each of the 492 roots was split longitudinally and cyanogenic glucoside levels were determined in one half of each root and the degree of bitterness in taste was graded for the other half by a trained taste panel of 12 persons. The mean taste scores obtained by the taste panel for each root correlated with the glucoside levels (r = 0.77), and even stronger with the log values of glucoside levels in each root (r = 0.87). The mean levels of glucosides for all roots from each cultivar correlated much more strongly with the average taste score of all roots from each cultivar (r = 0.98). It seems plausible that the bitter taste in cassava roots may be due to the presence of the cyanogenic glucosides and the results confirm farmers’ statement that toxicity can be predicted by tasting fresh cassava roots.



Research Papers