Semi-Quantitative Tests of Cyanide in Foods and Excreta of Three Hapalemur Species in Madagascar

Title

Semi-Quantitative Tests of Cyanide in Foods and Excreta of Three Hapalemur Species in Madagascar

Creator

Yamashita N; Tan C L; Vinyard C J; Williams C

Publisher

American Journal of Primatology

Date

2010
2010-01

Description

Three sympatric Hapalemur species (H. g. griseus, H. aureus, and H. (Prolemur) simus) in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar are known to eat bamboo food parts that contain cyanide. How these lemurs avoid cyanide poisoning remains unknown. In this study, we tested for the presence/absence of cyanide in bamboo lemur foods and excreta to (1) document patterns of cyanide consumption among species with respect to diet, (2) identify routes of elimination of cyanide from the gastrointestinal tract, and (3) determine whether cyanide is absorbed from the diet. We tested 102 food, urine, and fecal samples for hydrogen cyanide (HCN) during two "pre-dry" seasons (April 2006, May 2007) using commercially available Cyantesmo test strips. The test strips changed color in the presence of HCN and we recorded color change on a scale of 0 (no change) to 5 (cobalt) at preset intervals with a final score taken at 24 hr. We detected cyanide in bamboo food parts and urine of all three Hapalemur species. Time to color change of the test strips ranged from almost instantaneous to > 12 hr incubation. Of the foods tested, only bamboo contained cyanide, but results differed among bamboo species and plant parts of the same species. Specifically, branch shoot and culm pith of the giant bamboo produced strong, immediate reactions to the test paper, whereas parts of liana bamboos produced either weak or no color change. Cyanide was present in almost all urine samples but rarely in fecal samples. This suggests that dietary cyanide is absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract of the Hapalemur species and excreted, at least in part, by the kidneys. Samples from H. griseus exhibited lower, though still detectable, cyanide levels compared with H. simus and H. aureus. Differences among lemur species appear to be related to the specific bamboo parts consumed. Am. J. Primatol. 72:56-61, 2010. (C) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Subject

bamboo; bamboo lemur; cyanide; Cyantesmo test strips; diet; lemurs; plants; ranomafana national-park; secondary compounds; Zoology

Identifier

Format

Journal Article

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Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Pages

56-61

Issue

1

Volume

72

Citation

Yamashita N; Tan C L; Vinyard C J; Williams C, “Semi-Quantitative Tests of Cyanide in Foods and Excreta of Three Hapalemur Species in Madagascar,” NEOMED Bibliography Database, accessed September 21, 2021, https://neomed.omeka.net/items/show/7631.

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