Genetic variation in hydrogen cyanide potential of perennial sorghum evaluated by colorimetry. Academic Article uri icon


  • Both annual and perennial sorghum biomass serve as important forage for ruminant animals around the world. Unfortunately, sorghum can produce hydrogen cyanide (HCN), which, if occurring in high enough concentrations, can be toxic or lethal to animals that consume it. The objectives of this study were to develop a fast and inexpensive colorimetric assay to measure the hydrogen cyanide potential (HCN-P) as well as to compare this with existing visual assays while assessing the range of variation for HCN-P among perennial and annual sorghum biomass. The HCN-P of 100 sorghum lines derived from an interspecific hybridization program was determined over 2years (establishment and regrowth) using both visual and colorimetric assays. Visual assessment underestimated the HCN-P and was less accurate than colorimetry. Repeatability for HCN-P across all sampling dates was functionally zero in the visual assessment and low for the colorimetric assay. This was mostly explained by the significant pedigreeyear interaction effects and growth stage. Growth stage substantially influenced HCN-P, which should be considered when feeding animals on fresh forage.

published proceedings

  • Plant Direct

altmetric score

  • 8.58

author list (cited authors)

  • Nakasagga, S., Murray, S. C., Rooney, W. L., Barr, C., Nabukalu, P., Cox, S., & Hoffmann, L.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Nakasagga, Shakirah||Murray, Seth C||Rooney, William L||Barr, Catherine||Nabukalu, Pheona||Cox, Stan||Hoffmann, Leo

publication date

  • January 2022