Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Accumulation and depletion of indospicine in calves (Bos taurus) fed creeping indigo (Indigofera spicata)

Mary T. Fletcher A B D , Keith G. Reichmann B , Selina M. Ossedryver B , Ross A. McKenzie B , Phillip D. Carter C and Barry J. Blaney B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Centre for Animal Science, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, The University of Queensland, Health and Food Sciences Precinct, 39 Kessels Road, Coopers Plains, Qld 4108, Australia.

B Biosecurity Queensland, Animal Research Institute, Yeerongpilly, Qld 4105, Australia.

C Biosecurity Queensland, Tick Fever Centre, Wacol, Qld 4076, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: mary.fletcher@uq.edu.au

Animal Production Science - https://doi.org/10.1071/AN16394
Submitted: 17 June 2016  Accepted: 20 September 2016   Published online: 28 November 2016

Abstract

Prolonged consumption of Indigofera pasture plants can cause both hepatotoxicosis and reproductive losses in grazing animals with the responsible toxin indospicine forming persistent tissue residues. Separate accumulation and depletion feeding trials were undertaken in calves fed Indigofera spicata (3 mg indospicine/kg bodyweight) to ascertain the appearance and elimination of indospicine from various tissues. In the accumulation trial indospicine concentrations increased throughout the 42-day feeding period with maximum levels of 15 mg/L in plasma and 19 and 33 mg/kg in liver and muscle, respectively. In the depletion trial, calves were fed I. spicata for 35 days, after which the plant was withdrawn from the diet. The rate of elimination was relatively slow with estimates of half-life being 31, 25 and 20 days for muscle, liver and plasma, respectively. Indospicine levels measured in bovine tissues in this trial are comparable with levels in horsemeat and camel meat reported to cause fatal hepatoxicity in dogs, a species known to be susceptible to this toxin. The persistence of indospicine residues in bovine tissues and the widespread distribution of Indigofera species in tropical and sub-tropical grazing lands warrant further investigation, as indospicine has been established as causing reproductive losses and likely contributes to calf losses in these regions.

Additional keywords: carcass residues, cattle, Indigofera linnaei.


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