Toxic Cyanide in Cassava

The 2. Symposium “Toxic Cyanide in Cassava” is a half-day interdisciplinary meeting of scientists to discuss aspects associated with the toxicity of endogenous cyanide in cassava. A special focus of this year`s program is on measures for fighting konzo, an epidemic paralytic disease.

The scientific program includes presentations from medicine, biology, chemistry and food science and round table discussions. Due to its informal character it is an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas, discuss new programs and collaborations. The event is open to the public.

I am looking forward to welcoming you all in Zurich.

Felix Zelder


Friday, June 28th, 2019

University of Zurich, Campus Irchel, Lecture Hall G 85

13:00-13.05 Opening of the Minisymposium - Felix Zelder

Monitoring Cyanide Intoxication from Cassava in MozambiqueJulie Cliff


New systems for predicting the toxicity of cassava in a changing climateRos Gleadow


Rapid removal of cyanogenic glucosides in cassava by enzymatic treatment during wet processing Bart van Schie


Cyanide Detection in Cassava Felix Zelder


Digital enhanced cassava processing in rural AfricaMathias Cherbuin


Coffee Break


Solving the Konzo Problem - Issues and ProspectsDeep Kapur


Round Table Discussion


Confirmed Speaker


Julie Cliff


Julie Cliff is an Australian physician and epidemiologist who has worked in Mozambique since 1976, teaching at Eduardo Mondlane University.

Following graduation in medicine from the University of Melbourne, she trained in London in internal medicine (Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians) and community health and tropical medicine (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine).

In the United States, she has been an International Epidemiologic Fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and is an Affiliate Professor at the University of Washington, Seattle.

Title:   Monitoring Cyanide Intoxication from Cassava in Mozambique


Ros Gleadow


Ros Gleadow is Professor of Plant Sciences at Monash University. She researches the effect of climate change on food security with a focus on plants that make cyanide and the impact on human and animal health. Current projects are on the effect of CO2, drought, temperature and salinity on growth and allocation of resources in sorghum, cassava and taro working in Africa, the Pacific Islands and Australia. Gleadow also leads the undergraduate science program at Monash on scientific practice and communication and leads the Faculty of Science on a new interdisciplinary Agtech initiative. She is a former President of the Australian Society of Plant Scientists and is a member of the Australian Academy of Science's Committee for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

Title:   New systems for predicting the toxicity of cassava in a changing climate


Felix Zelder


Felix Zelder is a group leader at the Department of Chemistry of the University of Zurich working in the area of synthetic and analytical chemistry. One of his research interests is the development of chemical sensors for applications in remote locations and resource limited settings.

Title:   Cyanide Detection in Cassava


Mathias Cherbuin


Mathias Cherbuin is Chief Technical Officer at CyanoGuard AG where is he is in charge of developing cyanide monitoring solutions that enable the safe handling of cyanide-containing processes and monitoring of cyanide-containing samples. A key focus of his is the development of IoT devices and software that allow food security of cassava derived products and valorisation of bitter cassava in Africa.

Title:   Digital enhanced cassava processing in rural Africa


Deep Kapur



Deep is a Professor of Practice at Monash Business School and Director of the Australian Centre for Financial Studies.

Before assuming these positions in November 2017, he worked in the investment industry for 28 years in institutional portfolio management, principal investing, research, advisory and business administration. He has held Managing Director positions with Salomon Smith Barney, Citigroup Global Markets, Daiwa Capital Markets and with the event-driven hedge fund group Symphony Financial Partners.

Deep Kapur’s institutional investment experience spans both systematic and discretionary strategies across all major asset classes. He has practised activist investing, managed asset allocation portfolios for institutional clients and run large teams in investment banks developing systematic alpha strategies, risk management tools, and portfolio trading applications. Early in his career, he advised large institutions on investment strategy and asset-liability management. More recently his research and principal investing interests have expanded to venture capital, illiquid credit, alternative finance and impact investing.

During his tenure in the research department of Salomon Brothers and successor companies, he and his team received top ranks in the Institutional Investor surveys multiple times. He has intellectual roots in behavioural finance, having earned a PhD degree in Economics in 1989 from the Australian National University for a thesis that argued against the efficient markets hypothesis. At various times during his career, he has commercialised insights from academic research.

Title:   Solving the Konzo Problem - Issues and Prospects.


Bart van Schie

Bart van Schie


Bart van Schie is a senior Food Ingredients Technologist and biotechnologist by education with a focus and enzyme production and application. Worked for Unilever as technical application manager and was active in Africa over the past 20 years. Joined Dadtco-PhilAfricaFoods 6 years ago and worked with cassava, mainly on application of cassava starch in food and beverages. Developed with Wageningen University a process to remove cyanogenic glucosides during wet processing of cassava tubers. This method is now field tested in Mozambique in cooperation with 4 master students from two local universities and funded by

Title:   Rapid removal of cyanogenic glucosides in cassava by enzymatic treatment during wet processing



Attendance at the symposium and the coffee break is free of charge. Registration is required.



PD Dr. Felix Zelder

Department of Chemistry

University of Zurich

Department of Chemistry UZH