A Professor of Biochemical Toxicology from the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU), Prof. Polycarp Nnacheta Okafor, has taken time to refute long-held assumptions that the consumption of garri and other cassava products has negative effects on eyesight and also causes goiter.
Prof. Okafor cleared the air on the unsubstantiated theories on the negative effects of the metabolism of cassava cyanide, on Wednesday, while delivering the 52nd inaugural lecture of the University at her Senator Anyim Pius Anyim Auditorium.
In his lecture titled, “Metabolism of Cassava Cyanide and Jim Jones Cyanide in Humans”, Prof. Okafor noted that while it is true that cassava cyanide toxicity should be a major concern for populations using cassava as staple food, the reports that the metabolism of cassava cyanide causes diseases such as goiter, diabetes as well as poor eyesight are based on circumstantial evidence.
Speaking further, the Dean of the College of Natural Sciences (COLNAS) stressed that when properly processed, cassava poses no health threat but is rather a source of highly nutritious food products with potential in the social and economic growth of the country.
The inaugural lecturer recommended that instead of making mockery of cassava, research in the food should be prioritized to harness its potential to drive economic growth.
Speaking earlier, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Maduebibisi Ofo Iwe, represented by the DVC Academic, Prof. Udo Herbert, described Prof. Polycarp Okafor as an excellent scholar who has made his mark in the field of Biochemical Toxicology.
Cultural dance troupes were also on ground to thrill guests at the event.