[NAFEX] Apricot kernels

Stephen Sadler Docshiva at Docshiva.org
Thu Dec 4 13:47:37 EST 2008

With a caveat that this is not a complete answer, and there may be other

Amygdalin can be tested for indirectly.  Cyanide is fairly easy to test for
with simple equipment.  One can test for amygdalin by converting it to
cyanide and then testing for presence of that cyanide; one can even
determine the concentration of the amygdalin in the sample.  You use the
same test whether confirming absence or presence.  The thing is, mailing the
instructions for homemade cyanide seems irresponsible... 

Laboratories would use a (high performance liquid) chromatograph, but that's
hardly handy home equipment. 

I would just stick to sweet/nut varieties that list the kernel as safely
edible.  If you're really curious and near a college, they might be willing
to test a sample.  So might a commercial lab - but a school could be

~ Stephen

-----Original Message-----
From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Martha L. Davis
Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2008 10:02 AM
To: nafex at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: [NAFEX] Apricot kernels

"As your friendly neighborhood biochemist" How do you suggest I test apricot
kernels for low amigdalyn levels?  I am grafting a variety of types, some of
which are known to be sweet pit and some bitter and some unknown.  I am
interested in using sweet ones as nuts, but certainly not interested in
cyanide poisoning.  I know that it is possible to use heat to denature the
enzyme that converts the precursor to the poison, when done on bitter pits
one gets a sort of solid almond flavoring not a nut in the munchie sense,
but it seems likely that that processing method isn't used on the sweet pit
ones and isn't needed.  Any ideas?


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