Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/26/2006
Publication Date: 7/26/2006
Citation: Ferreira, J.F., Ritchey, K.D., Cassida, K.A., Turner, K.E. 2006. The cultivation of "Artemisia annua" in West Virginia and its potential use in animal health. HortScience 41(4):965.
Technical Abstract: Barberpole worm (Haemonchus contortus) is a serious gastrointestinal (GI) parasite problem in sheep and goats, and has been slowly, but steadily, developing resistance to the few commercial anthelmintics currently used to control this GI parasite. There is a current need to expand the anthelmintic drug arsenal against Haemonchus and other GI parasites, and an even higher need to develop natural treatments to help small ruminants like sheep and goats cope with them. Artemisia annua has been used for ca. 2000 years to fight malaria, caused by Plasmodium sp. Artemisinin, the active ingredient, has also proven effective against other pathogens including protozoa, bacteria, and the blood fluke (Schistosoma sp.). Due to the similar environmental conditions shared between West Virginia and the place of origin of the plant in China, we are currently evaluating A. annua growth and yield, and artemisinin for its potential anthelmintic effect in small ruminants. We will present data on the adaptability of A. annua to the soil fertility and climatic conditions of the Appalachian ecosystem and their influence on the accumulation of leaf biomass, artemisinin, and its precursors artemisinic acid and dihydroartemisinic acid. We will also discuss the nutritive value of A. annua leaves for small ruminants, its leaf palatability to goats, and the fate of artemisinin after exposure to ruminal microflora, among other aspects of our research. Artemisia annua has shown potential for production of leaf biomass and bioactive secondary metabolites in its first cultivation trial in 2005. If effective against Haemonchus contortus or other GI parasites, the crop may be a viable alternative crop for farmers in West Virginia for use as a natural anthelmintic in small ruminant grazing systems.