Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » Lexington, Kentucky » Forage-animal Production Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #317613

Research Project: Optimizing the Biology of the Animal-Plant Interface for Improved Sustainability of Forage-Based Animal Enterprises

Location: Forage-animal Production Research

Title: Activities and effects of ergot alkaloids on livestock physiology and production

Author
item Klotz, James

Submitted to: Toxins
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/9/2015
Publication Date: 7/27/2015
Citation: Klotz, J.L. 2015. Activities and effects of ergot alkaloids on livestock physiology and production. Toxins. 7:2801-2821. doi:10.3390/toxins7082801.

Interpretive Summary: This review is part of special issue on ergot alkaloids and focuses on the variety of symptoms associated with ergot alkaloid exposure in livestock. Much of the available animal data addresses the symptoms of ergot alkaloid exposure and only now is a significant pool of data that addresses the cellular and biochemical impacts of ergot alkaloids on livestock becoming available. A true solution to the problems associated with ergot alkaloids will only become a reality when the work in the laboratory and the pasture or feed bunk converges. This review describes the current literature that addresses the basic mechanisms behind the symptoms of ergot alkaloid exposure in livestock and benefits researchers in the field of ergot alkaloid toxicities.

Technical Abstract: Ergot alkaloids can have a broad impact on many different physiological mechanisms that can alter the homeostasis of livestock exposed to these toxins through consumption of infested feedstuffs. This altered homeostasis causes an increased sensitivity in livestock to perturbations in the ambient environment that results in an animal’s increased sensitivity to stressors. This ultimately results in billions of dollars of production losses to livestock producers around the world. This review will focus on the underlying physiological mechanisms that are affected by ergot alkaloids that lead to alterations in livestock production.