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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Poisonous Plant Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #400114

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

Location: Poisonous Plant Research

Title: Biomarkers and their potential for detecting livestock plant poisonings in western North America

item Green, Benedict - Ben
item Welch, Kevin
item Lee, Stephen
item Stonecipher, Clinton - Clint
item Gardner, Dale
item Stegelmeier, Bryan
item Davis, Thomas - Zane
item Cook, Daniel

Submitted to: Frontiers in Veterinary Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/3/2023
Publication Date: 2/22/2023
Citation: Green, B.T., Welch, K.D., Lee, S.T., Stonecipher, C.A., Gardner, D.R., Stegelmeier, B.L., Davis, T.Z., Cook, D. 2023. Biomarkers and their potential for detecting livestock plant poisonings in western North America. Frontiers in Veterinary Science. 10. Article 1104702.

Interpretive Summary: This article discusses biomarkers for use by veterinary medical professionals to diagnose and manage plant poisoning in livestock. It also, for the first time, consolidates and presents five main factors to consider when investigating deaths that are suspected to be due to poisonous plants through the use of biomarkers.

Technical Abstract: The United States National Cancer Institute defines a biomarker as: “A biological molecule found in blood, other body fluids, or tissues that is a sign of a normal or abnormal process, or of a condition or disease….” In Veterinary Medicine, biomarkers associated with plant poisonings of livestock have great utility. Since grazing livestock poisoned by toxic plants are often found dead, biomarkers of plant poisoning allow for a more rapid diagnosis and response to prevent further deaths. The presence and concentration of toxins in poisonous plants are biomarkers of risk for livestock poisoning that can be measured by the chemical analysis of plant material. More difficult is, the detection of plant toxins or biomarkers in biological samples from intoxicated or deceased animals. The purpose of this article is to review potential biomarkers of plant poisoning in grazing livestock in the western North America including recently investigated non-invasive sampling techniques. Plants discussed include larkspur, lupine, water hemlock, swainsonine-containing plants, selenium-containing plants, and pyrrolizidine alkaloid containing plants. Other factors such as animal age and sex that affect plant biomarker concentrations in vivio are also discussed.