Two rapid semi-quantitative assays for total cyanogens in cassava were evaluated. These were the well-known rapid picrate paper test, and a recently proposed rapid paper test involving the reagent tetra base (TB, 4,4′- methylenebis-(N, N-dimethylaniline)). A precise colorimetric assay was used as a control in the evaluative work. After primary evaluation, both assay methods underwent some modification regarding the interpretation of sample scores. As a result, the reliability of the picrate assay was greatly improved. The TB assay was modified in the interests of safety. Evaluation of this assay over a range of temperatures between 20 and 35°C showed no significant temperature effects upon performance when the new scoring interpretation system was used. The level of endogenous linamarase activity in the sample was found to be an influential factor in rapid assay performance. In a series of comparative trials in three distinct ecosystems, the newly modified picrate assay produced correct results in 68% of cases. This compared with 66% of results correct in the TB assay. It was observed that the TB assay performed more reliably with low cyanogen samples, whilst the picrate assay was more reliable with intermediate cyanogen samples.
O’Brien, G.M.; Wheatley, C.C.; Iglesias, C.; Poulter, N.H. Evaluation, Modification and comparison of two rapid assays for cyanogens in cassava. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture (1994) 65 (4) 391-399. [DOI: 10.1002/jsfa.2740650405]