Ingestion of ergot alkaloids can reduce live-weight gain (LWG) in sheep and cattle. The objective of this experiment was to determine if the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for urinary lysergol level provided an accurate measure of ergot alkaloid dietary intake. Forty hoggets and 60 heifers were fed ryegrass seed containing ergovaline (EV) (0.0 to 75.0 µg EV/kg LW hogget; 0.0 to 35.0 µg EV/kg LW heifer) daily. The feeding trial was repeated after 30 days for the hoggets. Urine lysergol:creatinine ratio increased linearly for hoggets from 1.91 to 5.80 (P<0.001) and LWG was linearly suppressed from 110 to 60 g/d (P<0.01) and 30 days later, from 35 to -130 g/d (P<0.05) for intakes of 0.0 to 75.0 µg EV/kg LW. Heifer urine lysergol:creatinine ratio increased linearly from 1.60 to 5.21 and LWG declined from 1.0 to 0.85 kg/d for intakes of 0.0 to 35.0 µg EV/kg LW (P<0.05). Urinary lysergol:creatinine ratio increased by 0.056 ± 0.007 (P<0.001, r2 = 0.67) in hoggets and by 0.082 ± 0.006 (P<0.001, r2 = 0.77) in heifers, for every 1 µg EV/kg LW consumed. These studies demonstrated a strong relationship between ergot alkaloid dietary intake and urine lysergol:creatinine ratio.

DL, Layton, LR Fletcher, AJ Litherland, MG Scannell, J Sprosen, CJ Hoogendoorn, and MG Lambert

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 64, Hamilton, 192-196, 2004
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