Variations in the chemical composition of cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) leaves and roots as affected by genotypic and environmental variation Academic Article uri icon


  • The purpose of this study was to assess the quality of cassava cultivars, in terms of cyanogenic potential and composition of macro- and micronutrients, sampled from different locations in rural Mozambique. Total cyanide concentrations in fresh cassava tissues were measured using portable cyanide testing kits, and elemental nutrients were later analyzed from dried plant tissue. Variation in cyanogenic potential and nutrient composition occurred both among cultivars and across locations. The majority of cultivars contained >100 ppm total cyanide, fresh weight, and are therefore considered to be dangerously poisonous unless adequately processed before consumption. Leaf cyanogenic and nutrient content varied with plant water status, estimated using carbon isotope discrimination (δ(13)C). The colonization of roots of all cultivars by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi was also quantified and found to be high, indicating that mycorrhizas could play a key role in plant nutrient acquisition in these low-input farming systems.


  • Burns, AE
  • Gleadow, RM
  • Zacarias, AM
  • Cuambe, CE
  • Miller, RE
  • Cavagnaro, TR

publication date

  • 2012