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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The Detection and Estimation of Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids in Plants and Feeds Using An Elisa

Authors
item Lee, Stephen
item Schoch, Thomas
item Stegelmeier, Bryan
item Gardner, Dale
item Than, Khin - CSIRO
item Molyneux, Russell

Submitted to: Poisonous Plants Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: May 20, 2003
Publication Date: November 1, 2003
Citation: Lee, S.T., Schoch, T.K., Stegelmeier, B.L., Gardner, D.R., Than, K.A., Molyneux, R.J. 2003. Pyrrolizidine alkaloid measurement in plants, feeds, and food supplies using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Poisonous Plants Symposium Proceedings.

Interpretive Summary: Pyrrolizidine alkaloid containing plants are widely distributed throughout the world and are particularly common in the genus Senecio. Many pyrrolizidine alkaloids are toxic and cause poisoning in livestock and in humans. The type and concentrations of the alkaloids vary between plant species. In addition, within a species of plant, concentrations vary with environment and location. Rapid, sensitive and specific diagnostic techniques are needed to identify poisoned animals and to determine the particular plants and conditions under which livestock are likely to be poisoned. In this study, a competitive inhibition enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (CI-ELISA) for riddelliine, riddelliine N-oxide and other closely related pyrrolizidine alkaloids were developed. This assay showed cross-reactivity to both the free base and N-oxide forms of the alkaloids. This assay demonstrated the estimation of the total pyrrolizidine alkaloid content in Senecio riddellii/alfalfa mixtures. These findings suggest that this assay will be an excellent tool to diagnose poisoned animals and identify highly toxic plants.

Technical Abstract: Pyrrolizidine alkaloid-containing plants are found throughout the world and are common in the genus Senecio. Many pyrrolizidine alkaloids are toxic and cause poisoning in livestock and in humans (Bull et al., 1968; Johnson et al., 1989; Mattocks, 1986; Prakash et al., 1999; Stegelmeier et al., 1999). The alkaloid types and concentrations vary between plant species. In addition, within a species of plant, concentrations vary with environment and location. Most pyrrolizidine alkaloid-containing plants produce mixtures of the free bases and their corresponding N-oxides in varying concentrations. In general, the free base and N-oxide forms are similar in toxicity if absorbed via the gut (Mattocks, 1986; Molyneux et al., 1991). Rapid, sensitive and specific diagnostic techniques are needed to determine the plants and conditions under which livestock are likely to be poisoned , and to monitor feeds and food supplies that are intended for livestock or human consumption. In this study a competitive inhibition enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (CI-ELISA) for riddelliine, riddelliine N-oxide and other closely related pyrrolizidine alkaloids was developed. This assay allowed us to estimate the total pyrrolizidine alkaloid content in Senecio riddellii and Senecio madagascarensis plant material and in Senecio riddellii admixtures with alfalfa.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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