TitleMetabolism of toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids from tansy ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) in ovine ruminal fluid under anaerobic conditions.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1992
AuthorsCraig, AM, Latham, CJ, Blythe, LL, Schmotzer, WB, O'Connor, OA
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Date Published1992 Sep

The ability of ovine ruminal fluid to metabolize pyrrolizidine alkaloid (PA) from Senecio jacobaea under anaerobic conditions was evaluated. Four fistulated sheep fed PA served as individual sources of ruminal fluid, which was incubated in a defined minimal salts medium under two different anaerobic conditions, denitrifying and methanogenic. Anaerobic cultures amended with ovine ruminal fluids (20%), PA (100 micrograms/ml), and a defined minimal salts medium were monitored for a period of several days. These cultures revealed that while PA was not depleted in sterile, autoclaved controls or under denitrifying conditions, it was metabolized during periods of active methanogenesis under methanogenic conditions. In addition, samples of ruminal fluid were separated by differential centrifugation under anaerobic conditions, and the resultant supernatants were tested for their ability to metabolize PA as compared with those of the respective uncentrifuged control fluids. Uncentrifuged controls exhibited a PA depletion rate of -4.04 +/- 0.17 micrograms of PA per ml per h. Supernatants 1 (centrifuged at 41 x g for 2 min), 2 (centrifuged at 166 x g for 5 min), and 3 (centrifuged at 1,500 x g for 10 min) exhibited significantly slower depletion rates, with slopes of data representing -1.64 +/- 0.16, -1.44 +/- 0.16, and -1.48 +/- 0.16 micrograms of PA metabolized per ml per h, respectively, demonstrating no statistically significant difference among the supernatant cultures. Microscopic evaluations revealed that protozoa were present in the control whole ruminal fluid and to a lesser extent in supernatant 1, while supernatants 2 and 3 contained only bacteria.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)