Ruminal metabolism and transport of tall fescue ergot alkaloids
Ayers, Andrea Wilson
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Ergovaline is considered the putative toxin in fescue toxicosis. However, these previous studies assume that ergovaline is the only ergot alkaloid to reach tissue and cellular surfaces intact. The purpose of this study was to 1) investigate ergot alkaloid absorption in a ruminant system, 2) determine the fate of ergot alkaloids in ruminant metabolism, 3) investigate gastric transport, and 4) validate the findings. Both in vitro and in vivo protocols were used in these studies. Ergovaline was not found in the rumen liquor, blood plasma, or urine, even though ergot alkaloids were abundant in digesta. Lysergic acid was the primary alkaloid transported, which occurred in the rumen. Therefore, ergovaline is not the toxic component of endophyte-infected tall fescue rather lysergic acid appears to be the likely candidate.