Food Safety Research Information Office
Title:Astragalus and Oxytropis Poisoning in Livestock
Objective:
  1. Determine Astragalus and Oxytropis species which contain fungal endophytes that produce swainsonine and describe the plant/endophyte relationship.
    1.1 Identify species that contain the endophyte (Embellisia), determine transfer of the endophyte to successive generations, and determine if the endophyte increases fitness of locoweed plants.
    1.2 Describe the distribution of the endophyte and swainsonine as a function of plant part and determine if swainsonine varies as a function of time.
    1.3 Determine the effect of the endophyte on palatability of locoweeds.
  2. Identify environmental conditions that will help predict population outbreaks of major locoweed species (Oxytropis sericea, Astragalus mollissimus, A. lentiginosus). Determine the conditions under which cattle, sheep, and horses graze locoweeds.
    2.1 Relate locoweed population outbreaks to weather cycles.
    2.2 Determine conditions under which livestock graze various locoweed species.
    2.3 Determine influence of nitrogen supplements in livestock diet selection and locoweed poisoning.
  3. Further describe effects of swainsonine and related polyhydroxy alkaloids on reproduction and body systems among livestock and wildlife species.
    3.1 Conduct a comparative study of species differences to determine why mannosidases are inhibited differently.
    3.2 Compare the effects of swainsonine on fetotoxicity among breeds of sheep and goats.
    3.3 Compare effects of swainsonine on ovarian function among cattle, sheep, and goats.
  4. Characterize biomarkers of intoxication and develop better diagnostic and prognostic procedures.
    4.1 Develop ELISA for locoweed intoxication.
    4.2 Develop biomarkers of poisoning.
  5. Further describe toxicoses and pathology of animals poisoned by Astragalus species containing nitro-propionic.
  6. Further describe the toxicosis, physiologic effects, and pathology of Astragalus and other selenium accumulating plants, and determine absorption, distribution, and elimination (clearance times) of various types and forms of selenium in livestock.
    Describe the etiology and pathogenesis of selenium poisoning and deficiency in livestock and determine safe nutritional levels.
    Determine the effect of selenium-reducing microflora on the selenium pharacokinetics when livestock consume seleniferous plant material.
More Info:
Approach: 1.1 Seed from endophyte-free and endophyte-infected locoweed plants will be germinated to determine if the endophyte is transmitted and expressed in the next generation. If so, we will develop endophyte-free and endophyte?infected populations and compare their fitness and competitive ability. 1.2 O. sericea plants will be collected and separated into plant parts and the endophyte measured by PCR. Once the endophyte distribution within the plant is known, we will collect stalks from independent plants at 2 week intervals throughout the growing season to determine endophyte distribution and swainsonine synthesis over time. 1.3 Fungal endophytes will be grown in the laboratory using standard culture techniques, then added to ground alfalfa hay, and presented to individual animals in preference tests.

2.1 Locoweed density will be measured annually in locations throughout the Western US, and correlated with weather data to develop predictive models. 2.2 A series of grazing studies will be conducted in northeastern New Mexico beginning in late summer while grass is green and run through early winter as grasses senesce to determine cattle preference for woolly locoweed. 2.3 Supplemented and nonsupplemented groups of cattle will be grazed to determine if the supplement will reduce locoweed consumption.

3.1 Tissues from several animal species will be analyzed and mannosidase expression compared using immunohistochemistry, Western blotting, real time (RT)-PCR and Northern blots. Enzymatic in vitro assays of mannosidase activity will be compared using a modification of previously developed serum a-mannosidase assays. 3.2 Swainsonine will be fed to hair sheep, wool sheep and goats in increasing doses. Swainsonine absorption and elimination profiles will be developed, fetotoxic effects will be monitored by ultrasound, and maternal histological comparisons will be evaluated. 3.3 Swainsonine will be fed to heifers, ewes, and goats at increasing doses. Ultrasound imaging will be used to evaluate changes in follicular phase and cyst development, histological changes in ovaries will be compared, and the biological activity of anterior pituitary gonadotropins will be assayed.

4.1 Swainsonine-protein conjugates will be synthesized and injected subcutaneously into four sheep and antisera titers determined. Antisera exhibiting high titers that are specific to swainsonine will be developed into ELISAs. 4.2 Differences in blood proteome from animals poisoned by locoweed plants will be used to identify proteins that can be used as biomarkers, then they will be validated using actual locoweed intake data.

5. A dose response study in sheep and cattle will be conducted and tissues collected for microscopic, ultrastructural and chemical analysis.

6.1 Selenium from plant material will be compared to inorganic forms at increasing doses to determine bioavailability and toxicity in sheep. 6.2 Reproductively mature ewes will be inoculated with selenobacter (Wolinella succinogenes), fed gound seleniferous plant (Astragalus bisulcatus) for eight months to monitor the effects of chronic selenium dosing on estrus cycles, gestation, and initial growth of lambs.

Funding Source:United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
Type:USDA Inhouse
Start Date:2008
End Date:2013
Project Number:5428-32000-014-00D
Accession Number:412850
Institutions:USDA/ARS - Northern Plains Area
Investigators:Ralphs, Michael
Published Journal
Articles USDA
ARS (NP 108):
Bioactive alkaloids in vertically transmitted fungal endophytes
Panaccione DG, Beaulieu WT, Cook D.
Funct Ecol. 2014 Apr;28(2):299-314.
Induction and transfer of resistance to poisoning by Amorimia (Mascagnia) septentrionalis in goats
Duarte AL, Medeiros RM, Carvalho FK, Lee ST, Cook D, Pfister JA, Costa VM, Riet-Correa F.
J Appl Toxicol. 2014 Feb;34(2):220-3.
Norditerpene alkaloid concentrations in tissues and floral rewards of larkspurs and impacts on pollinators
Cook D, Manson JS, Gardner DR, Welch KD, Irwin RE.
Biochem Sys Ecol. 2013 Jun;48:123-31.
Influence of endophyte genotype on swainsonine concentrations in Oxytropis sericea
Cook D, Grum DS, Gardner DR, Welch KD, Pfister JA.
Toxicon. 2013 Jan;61:105-11.
Alpha-mannosidosis in goats caused by the swainsonine-containing plant Ipomoea verbascoidea
Mendonça FS, Albuquerque RF, Evêncio-Neto J, Freitas SH, Dória RG, Boabaid FM, Driemeier D, Gardner DR, Riet-Correa F, Colodel EM.
J Vet Diagn Invest. 2013 Jan;24(1):90-5.
Detection of swainsonine and isolation of the endophyte Undifilum from the major locoweeds in Inner Mongolia
Gao X, Cook D, Ralphs MH, Yan L, Gardner DR, Lee ST, Panter KE, Han B, Zhao M.
Biochem Sys Ecol. 2012 Dec;45:79-85.
Detection of monofluoroacetate in Palicourea and Amorimia species
Lee ST, Cook D, Riet-Correa F, Pfister JA, Anderson WR, Lima FG, Gardner DR.
Toxicon. 2012 Oct;60(5):791-6.
Influence of seed endophyte amounts on swainsonine concentrations in Astragalus and Oxytropis locoweeds
Grum DS, Cook D, Gardner DR, Roper JM, Pfister JA, Ralphs MH.
J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Aug 22;60(33):8083-9.
Seasonal changes in Undifilum colonization and swainsonine content of locoweeds
Achata Böttger J, Creamer R, Gardner D.
J Chem Ecol. 2012 May;38(5):486-95.
Poisonous plants and plant toxins that are likely to contaminate hay and other prepared feeds in the western United States
Stegelmeier BL, Panter KE.
Rangelands. 2012 Apr;34(2):2-11.
Influence of phenological stage on swainsonine and endophyte concentrations in Oxytropis sericea
Cook D, Shi L, Gardner DR, Pfister JA, Grum D, Welch KD, Ralphs MH.
J Chem Ecol. 2012 Feb;38(2):195-203.
Detection and localization of the endophyte Undifilum oxytropis in locoweed tissues
Reyna R, Cooke P, Grum D, Cook D, Creamer R.
Botany. 2012;90(12):1229-36.
Increased antitumor efficacy by the combined administration of swainsonine and cisplatin in vivo
Santos FM, Latorre AO, Hueza IM, Sanches DS, Lippi LL, Gardner DR, Spinosa HS.
Phytomedicine. 2011 Sep 15;18(12):1096-101.
Transmission of the locoweed endophyte to the next generation of plants
Ralphs MH, Cook D, Gardner DR, Grum DS.
Fungal Ecol. 2011 Aug;4(4):251-5.
Galegine Content in Goatsrue (Galega officinalis) Varies by Plant Part and Phenological Growth Stage
Oldham M, Ransom CV, Ralphs MH, Gardner DR.
Weed Sci. 2011 Jul;59(3):349-52.
Swainsonine and endophyte relationships in Astragalus mollissimus and Astragalus lentiginosus
Cook D, Gardner DR, Grum D, Pfister JA, Ralphs MH, Welch KD, Green BT.
J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Feb 23;59(4):1281-7.
Locoweed Toxicity, Ecology, Control, and Management
Ralphs MH, Stegelmeier BL.
International Journal of Poisonous Plant Research. 2011;1(1):47-64.
Fetotoxicity of Astragalus lentiginosus(Locoweed) in Spanish goats
Furlan S, Panter KE, Pfister JA, Stegelmeier BL.
International Journal of Poisonous Plant Research. 2011;1(1):35-40.
The capability of several toxic plants to condition taste aversions in sheep
Pfister JA, Gardner DR, Cheney CC, Panter KE, Hall JO.
Small Ruminant Res. 2010 May;90(1):114-9.
Solutions to Locoweed Poisoning in New Mexico and the Western United States
Graham D, Creamer R, Cook D, Stegelmeier B, Welch K, Pfister J, Panter K, Cibils A, Ralphs M, Encinias M, McDaniel K, Thompson D, Gardner K.
Rangelands. 2009 Dec;31(6):3-8.
Swainsoninine concentrations and endophyte amounts of Undifilum oxytropis in different plant parts of Oxytropis sericea
Cook D, Gardner DR, Ralphs MH, Pfister JA, Welch KD, Green BT.
J Chem Ecol. 2009 Oct;35(10):1272-8.
Quantitative PCR method to measure the fungal endophyte in locoweeds
Cook D, Gardner DR, Welch KD, Roper JM, Ralphs MH, Green BT.
J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Jul 22;57(14):6050-4.
Response of Broom Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae) and Cool-Season Grasses to Defoliation
Ralphs M.
Invasive Plant Science and Management. 2009;2(1):25-35.
Locoweed Poisoning in Livestock
Cook D, Ralphs MH, Welch KD, Stegelmeier BL.
Rangelands. 2009;31(1):16-21.
Non-Journal Publications:
Selenium - (Book / Chapter)
Davis, T.Z., Hall, J.O. 2011. Selenium. In: Gupta, R.C., editor. Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology. San Diego, CA. Academic Press. p. 61-8.
Toxic plants - (Book / Chapter)
Panter, K.E., Welch, K.D., Gardner, D.R. 2011. Toxic plants. In: Gupta, R.C., editor. Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology. San Diego, CA. Academic Press. p. 689-705.
Toxic plants: Effects on reproduction and fetal and embryonic development in livestock - (Book / Chapter)
Panter, K.E., Welch, K.D., Gardner, D.R. 2011. Toxic plants: Effects on reproduction and fetal and embryonic development in livestock. In: Gupta, R.C., editor. Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology. San Diego, CA: Academic Press. p. 689-704.
Poisonous plants affecting the central nervous system of horses in Brazil - (Book / Chapter)
Lima, E.F., Riet-Correa, B., Riet-Correa, F., Medeiros, R.M.T., Gardner, D.R., Riet-Correa, G. 2011. Poisonous plants affecting the central nervous system of horses in Brazil. In: Riet-Correa, F., Pfister, J., Schild, A.L., Wierenga, T., editors. Poisoning by Plants, Mycotoxins, and Related Toxins. Cambridge, MA: CAB International. p. 290-4.
Neonate behavior in goats is affected by maternal ingestion of Ipomoea carnea - (Book / Chapter)
Gotardo, A.T., Pfister, J.A., Barbosa-Ferreira, M., Gorniak, S.L. 2011. Neonate behavior in goats is affected by maternal ingestion of Ipomoea carnea. In: Riet-Correa, F., Pfister, J., Schild, A.L., Wierenga, T., editors. Poisoning by Plants, Mycotoxins, and Related Toxins. Cambridge, MA. CAB International. 47:302-8.
Acute toxicity of selenium compounds commonly found in selenium-accumulator plants - (Book / Chapter)
Davis, T.Z., Stegelmeier, B.L., Green, B.T., Welch, K.D., Panter, K.E., Hall, J.O. 2011. Acute toxicity of selenium compounds commonly found in selenium-accumulator plants. In: Riet-Correa, F., Pfister, J., Schild, A.L., Wierenga, T., editors. Poisoning by Plants, Mycotoxins, and Related Toxins. Cambridge, MA. CAB International. 91:525-31.
The comparative pathology of locoweed poisoning in horses and other livestock - (Book / Chapter)
Stegelmeier, B.L., Davis, T.Z., Welch, K.D., Green, B.T., Gardner, D.R., Lee, S.T., Ralphs, M.H., Pfister, J.A., Cook, D., Panter, K.E. 2011. The comparative pathology of locoweed poisoning in horses and other livestock. In: Riet-Correa, F., Pfister, J., Schild, A.L., Wierenga, T., editors. Poisoning by Plants, Mycotoxins, and Related Toxins. Cambridge, MA. CAB International. 48:309-10.
Population Cycles of Poisonous Plants - (Book / Chapter)
Ralphs, M.H., Jensen, D.T. 2007. Population Cycles of Poisonous Plants. Poisonous Plant Global Research and Solutions. Ch 73. pp. 432-437.
Food Safety Categories:Food and Feed Composition and Characteristics
On-Farm Food Safety
Contaminants and Contamination
Farm-to-Table Categories:On-farm food production
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