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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Poisonous Plant Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #331654

Research Project: Understanding and Mitigating the Adverse Effects of Poisonous Plants on Livestock Production Systems

Location: Poisonous Plant Research

Title: The effect of multiple plant toxins on livestock

Author
item Welch, Kevin
item Green, Benedict - Ben
item Panter, Kip
item Gardner, Dale
item Pfister, James
item Cook, Daniel

Submitted to: International Symposium on Poisonous Plants
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/30/2015
Publication Date: 6/5/2015
Citation: Welch, K.D., Green, B.T., Panter, K.E., Gardner, D.R., Pfister, J.A., Cook, D. 2015. The effect of multiple plant toxins on livestock. International Symposium on Poisonous Plants. 9:25-30.

Interpretive Summary: When livestock are poisoned by plants in a range setting, there is normally more than one poisonous plant in that area. Additionally, many plants contain more than one compound that is toxic to livestock. Frequently, much is known regarding the toxicity of the individual plants and their individual toxins; however, little is known regarding the effect of co-exposure to multiple toxic plants or even the effect of multiple toxins from an individual plant. The results from our experiments dosing animals with multiple plant toxins demonstrate that there is indeed a mixture effect. The experiments with tall larkspur indicate that MDL-type alkaloids exacerbate the overall toxicity of the MSAL-type alkaloids and should be accounted for when predicting potential toxicity of larkspur populations. The results from the experiments with mice using MLA and zygacine suggest that there could be an additive effect with death camas and low larkspur. However, low larkspur co-treatment does not potentiate the toxicity of death camas in sheep. This information will be useful in further developing livestock management recommendations for ranchers and in designing additional experiments to study the toxicity of multiple plant toxins in livestock species.

Technical Abstract: When livestock are poisoned by plants in a range setting, there is normally more than one poisonous plant in that area. Additionally, many plants contain more than one compound that is toxic to livestock. Frequently, much is known regarding the toxicity of the individual plants and their individual toxins; however, little is known regarding the effect of co-exposure to multiple toxic plants or even the effect of multiple toxins from an individual plant. In this review, we discuss some basic principles of mixture toxicology with a focus on our recent research wherein we examined the effect of co-administering multiple plant toxins from the same plant and the effect of co-administration of two different poisonous plants, each with different types of toxins. As combined intoxications are likely common, this information will be useful in further developing management recommendations for ranchers, and in designing additional experiments to study the toxicity of multiple poisonous plants to livestock.