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Reduction of HCN content of flaxseed

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A study was conducted to determine the effectiveness of reducing the hydrogen cyanide (HCN) content of flaxseed (FS) by processing. FS was processed by oven heating, single or repeated pelleting alone or in a mix with corn or other ingredients, autoclaving, and microwave roasting. The comparative effectiveness in reducing HCN in FS by these processes was monitored through HCN measurements by alkaline titration. The HCN content was 377 mg kg−1 in raw feed‐grade FS and 139 mg kg−1 in a human food‐grade FS. All processing methods tested significantly (p < 0.05) reduced the HCN content of FS. Autoclaving FS reduced its HCN content by 29.7%. Microwave roasting of FS reduced the HCN content by 83.3%. Because of the 5.7% water loss recorded after 4 min of FS roasting, this reduction could be related to more evaporation of the newly formed HCN. Pelleting FS once reduced HCN content by 13.3%, and three and six repeated pelleting processes reduced HCN content by 29.0% and 54.9% respectively. When FS was pelleted in a mix with 50% corn, the HCN reduction was even greater. After pelleting six times, HCN reduction reached 63.8%. However, the greatest reduction in HCN content was 73.8%, and was obtained when FS was mixed with several ingredients and pelleted twice. The HCN reduction could be the result of deactivation of the glycosidase, or the evaporation of HCN formed from cyanogenic glycosides. The HCN reduction increased as the number of pelletings and the temperature of the pelleted product increased. The greater and prolonged exposure to a higher temperature by several pelletings seems to promote a greater HCN reduction. The appropriate processing of FS is essential for the use of this oilseed in animal feeding. Copyright © 2003 Society of Chemical Industry
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Keywords: autoclaving; flaxseed; hydrogen cyanide; microwave roasting; pelleting; processing methods

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Science, McGill University, 21, 111 Lakeshore Road, Ste Anne de Bellevue, Quebec H9X 3V9, Canada

Publication date: June 1, 2003

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