TOXIC LOCOWEED SPECIES IN MONGOLIA AND WESTERN USA
Poisonous Plant Research
2010 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Survey grasslands of Mongolia and the western United States for species of Oxytropis, Astragalus and Swainsonia to determine which species and populations contain the toxic alkaloid swainsonine that causes locoweed poisoning in livestock.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
The USDA/ARS Poisonous Plant Lab (PPRL) has developed chemical assays for the toxic alkaloid swainsonine and for detecting and quantifying the endophytic fungus Undifilum which produces swainsonine. Species of Oxytropis, Astragalus and Swainsona will be collected throughout Mongolia and the western United States and small samples of leaf and flower material will be sent to PPRL to determine the presence of the endophyte and concentration of swainsonine. From these samples toxicity of the species will be determined.
Collaboration between Inner Mongolia Agriculture Univ. China, Mongolia Agriculture Univ. and PPRL: Researchers collected species of Oxytropis, Astragalus and Swainsona and sent samples to PPRL for the endophyte and swainsonine analysis to determine which species are toxic. Inner Mongolia China, species Oxytropis glabra and Astragalus variablis were toxic and contained the endophyte. Non-toxic species included: Oxytropis glabra var. tannis, Oxytropis ochrocephala, Sphaerophysa solsula, Saphora alopecuroides. In Mongloia only Oxytropis glabra was toxic. Non-toxic species included Oxytropis oxyphylla, Oxytropis lanata, Asgragalus adsurgens, Astragalus galactites, Astraglis brevilodies. Interaction is via email, telephone calls, meetings, web site access, FedEx, U.S. postal service, etc.