Relationships between alkaloid compounds in endophyte-infected tall fescue and ruminal metabolism were studied in two experiments. In the first experiment, different combinations of the pyrrolizidine alkaloids, N-formyl and N-acetyl loline, were incubated with ruminal fluid for 0, 24, or 48 h. Rate of disappearance of N-formyl and N-acetyl loline increased over time. After 48 h, disappearance of N-formyl loline and combinations of N-formyl and N-acetyl loline was greater than N-acetyl loline. Significant amounts of N-formyl and N-acetyl loline were metabolized and converted to loline. In the second experiment, abomasally cannulated sheep were fed increasing amounts of endophyte-infected feed to compare diet digestibility, alkaloid metabolism, and physiological responses. Total tract DM digestibility was greatest for the endophyte-free diet, as were ruminal and total tract ADF, ruminal NDF, and total tract CP digestibilities. N-Formyl and N-acetyl loline recoveries averaged 5% from abomasal contents and 0% in feces. Sixty-eight percent of the pyrrolizidine alkaloids recovered in abomasal contents had been metabolizable to loline. Ergot alkaloids administered in the diet were recovered (50 to 60%) in the abomasal contents, but recovery was only 5% in fecal collections. No significant differences occurred in the physiological parameters measured. Results indicate that response to endophyte-infected tall fescue may be influenced by ruminal metabolism.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology
- N-acetyl loline
- N-formyl loline
- endophyte-infected (945 and 2346 mg)
- ruminal, tall fescue, endophyte, alkaloid