Resistance relief hope

21 July 2000

Resistance relief hope

LOTUS, sainfoin and other tannin-containing legumes may hold the secret to solving anthelmintic resistance problems, according to a New Zealand study.

Reported in Vet Record, July 8, the study shows that condensed tannins – natural chemicals extracted from lotus, sulla and sainfoin – have anthelmintic-like activity against deer lungworm and gastrointestinal larvae. This has implications for sheep and beef producers, according to researcher Simone Hoskins, currently based at the Rowett Research Institute, Aberdeen.

"It is inevitable that anthelmintic resistance will become an increasing problem in the UK. Grown as pure swards, scientists think that tannins contained in plants such as lotus, sulla, sainfoin and chicory, work by paralysing larvae entering the animal. This reduces its parasitic burden, allowing immunity to develop more quickly."

But there are difficulties associated with growing these plants successfully in the UK, says Dr Hoskins. "Although their nutritive value is high, they are fussy and prefer light, well drained soils. Also, they dont compete well with grasses and are difficult to establish."

Plant breeding work may help overcome some of these problems and further studies into how the legumes may fit into rotational grazing systems are continuing. &#42

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