Ovis Aries: A Model for Studying the Effects of Fescue Toxins on Animal Performance in a Heat-Stress Environment
Ergovaline has been recognized as the dominate ergopeptine alkaloid in a typical analysis of endophyte-infected tall fescue (Lyons et al., 1986). Garner et al. (1993) stated that until there are sufficient quantities of ergovaline available for feeding or infusion, the role of ergovaline and the other alkaloids in endophyte-infected tall fescue will remain unclear. Since significant quantities of ergovaline have recently become available (F. Smith, Auburn Univ.), studying the effects of ergovaline on animal performance is now possible. The effects of pure ergovaline have been studied by injecting the compound (Spiers et al., 1995) or by in vitro techniques (Denard et al., 1994). Although the effects of feeding ergotamine have been reported (Hannah et al., 1990 and Osborn et al., 1992), no reports have been published on the effects of ergovaline being fed to animals. The objective of the initial study was to determine a percentage of endophyte-infected Neotyphodium coenophialurn (Glenn et al., 1996) tall fescue seed (E+) in a diet that is capable of causing fescue related symptoms in lambs in a heat-stress environment. In the second experiment, lambs were fed ergovaline at levels greater than ergovaline fed in the E+ diets in order to determine if pure ergovaline would produce fescue toxicosis symptoms.
KeywordsTall Fescue Core Body Temperature Ergot Alkaloid Prolactin Release Animal Performance
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