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Title: The difficulties in reviewing ergovaline

item NICOL, ALASTAIR - Lincoln University - New Zealand
item Klotz, James

Submitted to: Proceedings New Zealand Society of Animal Production
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/17/2015
Publication Date: 6/28/2015
Citation: Nicol, A.M., Klotz, J.L. 2015. The difficulties in reviewing ergovaline. Proceedings New Zealand Society of Animal Production. pp. 35-36.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The endophytic alkaloid, ergovaline, is a secondary metabolite of a number of endophtyes associated with perennial ryegrass. Ergovaline is known to protect ryegrass against attack by a range of insect pests but can also negatively affect domestic ruminants. We have recently reviewed the physiological responses and metabolism of ergovaline (Klotz & Nicol, 2015) and the effect of its consumption on animal production (Nicol & Klotz, 2015). A brief summary of the main points from these reviews will be included in this paper but the main thrust is on the difficulties we encountered in preparing these reviews. These include: the lack of a cost-effective source of ergovaline to allow for robust dose dependent trials. This has resulted in ergovaline treatments that have been based on seed sources presented in a range of processed forms or as ryegrass pasture in which ergovaline is often associated with other alkaloids. Intake of ergovaline is often difficult to predict because ergovaline concentration of the diet on offer may not represent the concentration in the diet consumed. Furthermore the mean liveweight and level of production of the experimental animals is not always available to allow for a prediction of ergovaline intake. Any change in gut-fill in response to ergovaline consumption needs to be accounted for in assessing any impact on body weight. Experimental objectives need to be clear as the effects of short-term effects of ergovaline exposure can be masked in a production system by subsequent compensatory growth/production. By identifying the difficulties, we hope that future work on ergovaline may be more consistent and of greater value to further reviews.