Submitted to: Veterinary Pathology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/7/2007
Publication Date: 11/13/2007
Citation: Pimentel, L., Correa, F.R., Gardner, D.R., Panter, K.E., Dantas, A.F., Medeiros, R.A., Mota, R.A., Araujo, J.A. 2007. Mimosa tenuiflora as a Cause of Malformations in Ruminants in the Northeastern Brazilian Semiarid Rangelands. Veterinary Pathology.
Interpretive Summary: Bone malformations are very common in goats in sheep grazing the semiarid rangelands of Northeastern Brazil. The malformations include permanent curvature of the forelimbs, cleft palate, cleft lip and eye malformations. To demonstrate the cause of the malformations feeding trials were conducted using two suspect plant materials, Mimosa tenuiflora (Jurema) and Prosopis juliflora (mesquite bean) with pregnant goats. The four goats fed Prosopis julifloria and the four goats fed control hay diets all delivered normal kids. The four goats fed M. tenuiflora delivered one normal kid and three kids which had bone abnormalities similar to those observed in field cases. M. tenuiflora is thus implicated as the cause of observed bone malformations in field cases of the semiarid rangelands of Brazil. The toxins in the plant have not been identified and the only recommendation to reduce malformations caused by M. tenuiflora is to keep ruminants out of pastures invaded by the plant until after 60 days of pregnancy.
Technical Abstract: Craniofacial anomalies, eye malformations, and permanent flexures of the forelimbs are common malformations seen in ruminants grazing semiarid rangelands of Northeastern Brazil. To investigate the cause of these malformations, we fed 2 suspected plants, Mimosa tenuiflora or Prosopis juliflora, to groups of 4 pregnant goats each. Fresh green M. tenuiflora was collected daily and fed ad libitum to 4 goats in group 1 throughout pregnancy. This treatment group also received a supplemental feed concentrate equivalent to 1% body weight. Four goats in group 2 received a ration with 70% of P. juliflora pods and 30% hay throughout pregnancy. Four control goats were fed supplemental feed concentrate (1% body weight) and hay ad libitum throughout pregnancy. Goats treated with P. juliflora pods and the control goats delivered 9 normal kids. The four goats that were fed M. tenuiflora during pregnancy delivered 4 kids, 3 of which had abnormalities similar to those observed in field cases, including cleft lip, unilateral corneal opacity, ocular bilateral dermoids, buphthalmos with a cloudy brownish appearance of the anterior chamber due to an iridal cyst, and segmental stenosis of the colon. Malformations induced experimentally by M. tenuiflora were similar to those observed in field cases, suggesting that M. tenuiflora is a cause of the field cases observed in the Brazilian semiarid rangelands.