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Cassava roots (Manihot esculenta and Manihot utilissima) are largely consumed as staple food in African but contain a toxic compound, cyanogenic glycosides. This study evaluated the effect of Manihot esculenta and Manihot utilissima cyanide content on biochemical parameters and histological examination of male albino rats. A total of thirty rats were used for the acute toxicity study while thirty-five rats were used to determine the effect of Manihot esculenta and Manihot utilissima cyanide on biochemical and histological parameters. The results revealed that Manihot esculenta and Manihot utilissima cyanide were toxic to rats even at a lower dose (10 mg/kg body weight) and cause death. Studies on the cyanide concentration determined using the standard curve revealed a high amount of cyanide in Manihot esculenta compared to Manihot utilissima. Biochemical parameters determined include Aspartate transaminases (AST), Alanine transaminases (ALT), Alanine Phosphatase (ALP), Urea, Creatinine, Acid Phosphates, and Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH). The results revealed a significant (p< 0.05) increase of AST, ALP, Creatinine, Acid Phosphates, and LDH on rats administered with Manihot esculenta cyanide compared to normal rats and Manihot utilissima cyanide while Manihot utilissima cyanide showed significant (p< 0.05) increase on the activity of AST, ALT, ALP, Urea, and Creatinine compared with normal rats. Histological examination of livers and kidneys of the rats revealed that rats administered with Manihot esculenta cyanide showed disruption of the liver and kidney cells with distorted hepatic portal areas and necrosis compared to rats fed with Manihot utilissima cyanide and normal rats. The deleterious effect of the hydrogen cyanide is more pronounced on the tissues of the rats treated with Manihot esculenta as compared to those treated with Manihot utilissima as depicted by the photomicrographs. This study, therefore, concluded that Manihot esculenta is toxic causing alteration on some biochemical and histological parameters, this toxicity was correlated to dysfunction of vital organs which are a reconfirmation of the need for adequate processing of certain food crops prior to consumption. Cassava is a rich source of cyanide, highly documented for its adverse effects on the living system.
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