Submitted to: American Forage and Grassland Council Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2005
Publication Date: 6/11/2005
Citation: Turner, K.E., Ferreira, J.F. 2005. Potential use of "Artemisia annua" in meat goat production systems. American Forage and Grassland Council Proceedings 14:221-225.
Interpretive Summary: Control of gastrointestinal (GI) parasites, especially Haemonchus, in small ruminants such as goats is a major problem for livestock producers. Anthelmintic drug resistance to commercial dewormers by GI parasites has been reported in goats. Plants containing bio-active compounds may offer an alternative to commercial dewormers to help control GI parasites in goats. Sweet wormwood, Artemisia annua, is a native plant in the eastern U.S. that contains artemisinin which has been shown to be active against GI parasites. We did preliminary studies: 1) to evaluate nutritive value of sweet wormwood leaves, and 2) to monitor changes in fecal egg counts (FEC) when goats were dosed with artemisinin, the active ingredient isolated from sweet wormwood. The in vitro organic matter disappearance of sweet wormwood leaves was 63.3% compared to 68.5% for whole-plant alfalfa suggesting that the artemisinin content of sweet wormwood did not negatively impact the ruminal microflora and fermentation. Fecal egg counts were not different between goats administered 300 mg artemisinin per head per day and those receiving no artemisinin. Level of artemisinin administered may not have been high enough to negatively impact the adult female Haemonchus and thus reduce FEC. This work is useful to scientists trying to develop new anthelmintics for livestock. It will benefit producers by helping to identify plants that have anthelmintic activity in order to reduce dependence upon purchase of chemical dewormers.
Technical Abstract: Two preliminary studies were done: 1) to evaluate the nutritive value of Artemisia annua, and 2) to determine efficacy of the isolated plant compound artemisinin administered at 300 mg per head (ART300) compared to no artemisinin control (CON) for controlling gastrointestinal (GI) parasites in goats as determined by changes in fecal egg counts (FEC). In Exp. 1, the in vitro organic matter disappearance (IVOMD) of artemisia (Artemisia annua L.) leaves (63.2%) containing 1.4% artemisinin was similar to whole-plant alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.; 66.8%) suggesting that the artemisinin content did not negatively impact the ruminal microflora and overall digestibility. In Exp. 2, within a date, FEC were not different between ART300 and CON goats. A longer feeding period and/or a higher dose of artemisinin than the ones used in our experiment may be needed when small ruminants are treated for GI parasites through supplementation with A. annua or artemisinin in order to achieve steady state conditions and to better define response parameters.