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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Poisonous Plant Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #349793

Title: Chemical analysis of plants that poison livestock: Successes, challenges, and opportunities

item Welch, Kevin
item Lee, Stephen
item Cook, Daniel
item Gardner, Dale
item Pfister, James

Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/1/2018
Publication Date: 3/20/2018
Citation: Welch, K.D., Lee, S.T., Cook, D., Gardner, D.R., Pfister, J.A. 2018. Chemical analysis of plants that poison livestock: Successes, challenges, and opportunities. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 66(13):3308-3314.

Interpretive Summary: Economic losses from poisonous plants in western North America, and across the world, have a significant impact on the livestock industry. It is estimated that the poisoning of livestock by plants results in over $500 million in losses to the livestock industry annually in the 17 western US states. Consequently research is performed each year to understand and characterize the toxic nature of plants and the compounds responsible for their toxicity. Research at the USDA/ARS Poisonous Plant Research Laboratory (PPRL), and other laboratories around the world, have provided successes for the livestock industry in dealing with poisonous plants. The objective of this review is to highlight some of the successes of chemical analyses of plant toxins and the impact of plant toxin analysis on managing poisonous plants in livestock, along with some remaining challenges and opportunities for poisonous plant research.

Technical Abstract: Poisonous plants have a devastating impact on the livestock industry, as well as human health. In order to fully understand the effects of poisonous plants, multiple scientific disciplines are required. Chemical analysis of plant secondary compounds is key to identifying the responsible toxins, characterizing their metabolism, and understanding their effects on animals and humans. In this review, we highlight some of the successes in studying poisonous plants and mitigating their toxic effects. We also highlight some of the remaining challenges and opportunities with regards to the chemical analysis of poisonous plants.