Gut Flora Composition & Function May Impact Susceptibility to Konzo, a Paralytic Disease Caused by Consumption of Poorly Processed Cassava, a World Staple Crop; Study May “Open Novel Avenues to Prevent Devastating Disease for Many Children in Sub-Saharan Africa”

Differences between gut flora and genes from konzo-prone regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) may affect the release of cyanide after poorly processed cassava is consumed, according to a recent study with 180 children. Cassava is a food security crop for over half a billion people in the developing world. Children living in high-risk konzo areas have high glucosidase (linamarase) microbes and low rhodanese microbes in their gut, which could mean greater susceptibility and less protection against the disease, according to researchers at the Children’s National Hospital (Washington, DC) who led the study published online on September 10, 2021 in Nature Communications. The open-access article is titled “The Gut Microbiome in Konzo.”
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