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By Elin Kittelmann
Extension Agent 

Livestock and prussic acid

Use caution

 

September 22, 2017

Nitrate and prussic acid testing of sundangrass

Prussic acid poisoning can be a lethal problem for cattle grazing sorghum, sorghum-sundangrass crosses and sundangrasses. Other plants that potentially contain prussic acid include white clover, vetch seed and chokecherry.

Prussic acid, also called hydrocyanic (HCN), is typically not present in plants. However, some common plants can accumulate large quantities of cyanogenic glycoside. When plants are actively growing, prussic acid levels are low because the compound breaks down over time. However, stress causes cyanogenic glycoside to accumulate in plant tissues. Drought and frost can dama...



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