cyanogenic glycosides


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cyanogenic glycosides

[sī′ənōjənet′ik]
chemical compounds contained in foods that release hydrogen cyanide when chewed or digested. The act of chewing or digestion leads to hydrolysis of the substances, causing cyanide to be released. Cyanogenetic glycosides are present in apples, apricots, cherries, peaches, plums, and quinces, particularly in the seeds of such fruits. The chemicals are also found in almonds, sorghum, lima beans, cassava, corn, yams, chick-peas, cashews, and kirsch. Although human poisoning by cyanogenetic glycosides is rare, cases of cyanide poisoning by certain varieties of lima beans, cassava, and bitter almonds have been reported.
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Alkaloids (+) (-) Anthraquinones (-) (-) Cyanogenic glycosides (-) (-) Flavonoids (++) (+++) Steroids (+++) (+++) Tannins (-) (++) Legend: (+) presence, (++) abundant, (+++) very abundant and (-) absence
The exposure of persons to gaseous cyanide leading to intoxication by inhalation causes acute cyanide poisoning, while dietary exposure may occur as a result of high intake of the products of some nutritive plants of different root tubers; which contain cyanogenic glycosides [4,2].
The cytotoxic plants include (1) the toxalbumins, the toxin (ricin) of which one, the castor bean (Ricinus communis), has been weaponized; (2) the mitotic inhibitors, many of which are highly effective as cancer chemotherapeutics; and (3) the cyanogenic glycosides contained in the kernels of several fruits, including apples, apricots, cherries, peaches, and plums (Table 1).
Combined with an increase in cyanogenic glycosides, this has major implications for the types of crops that can be grown in the future if CO2 levels continue to rise.
Internal organ poisons include the alkaloids and cardiac and cyanogenic glycosides.
Many cyanogenic glycosides have been implicated in allelopathy (Rice, 1984).