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Cyanide, known as a potent suicidal, homicidal and chemical warfare agent, is widely found in plants and used in industry. Cytochrome oxidase, the main enzyme in cell respiration, is inhibited by cyanide resulting to acute or chronic toxicity. The effects of garlic (Allium sativum) and its chief compound, allicin, on the acute lethality of cyanide were studied in rats. Three groups of rats were fed a diet containing 10%, 20% and 30% garlic powder for 48h and then were challenged with 10 mg/kg cyanide. The lethality of cyanide intoxication was markedly reduced in rats which received garlic by diet and the rate of protection was dose-dependent. The effect of 1,000 PPM of allicin on cyanide lethality was equal to 20% of garlic in diet. These results suggest that sulfur compounds of garlic may have a protective effect against cyanide intoxication.

Cyanide, a potent toxic agent, is present in some insecticides, rodenticides, metal polishes, electroplating solutions, gold and silver extraction and fumigants, and is used in a variety of metallurgical processes. The waste discharge from these industries can contain large amounts of cyanide and can act as a source of poisoning (Aslani et al. 2004). Cyanide is also widely used for suicide and homicide and has been used for chemical warfare (Baskin and Reagor 1997).

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PDF Icon Garlic in the Marine Aquarium
PDF IconCyanide Garlic Allicin