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Accumulation, Persistence, and Effects of Indospicine Residues in Camels Fed Indigofera Plant

Tan, Eddie T. T., Al Jassim, Rafat, Cawdell-Smith, A. Judy, Ossedryver, Selina M., D’Arcy, Bruce R., Fletcher, Mary T.
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2016 v.64 no.34 pp. 6622-6629
Chloris gayana, Indigofera linnaei, Indigofera spicata, barley, biopsy, blood, body weight, camels, cattle, chaff, diet, dietary exposure, dogs, excretion, food safety, grass hay, half life, heart, histopathology, kidneys, liquid chromatography, liver, liver diseases, muscles, necropsy, pancreas, poisoning, rats, sheep, tandem mass spectrometry, tissues, Australia
Indospicine (l-2-amino-6-amidinohexanoic acid) is a natural hepatotoxin found in all parts of some Indigofera plants such as Indigofera linnaei and Indigofera spicata. Several studies have documented a susceptibility to this hepatotoxin in different species of animals, including cattle, sheep, dogs, and rats, which are associated with mild to severe liver disease after prolonged ingestion. However, there is little published data on the effects of this hepatotoxin in camels, even though Indigofera plants are known to be palatable to camels in central Australia. The secondary poisoning of dogs after prolonged dietary exposure to residual indospicine in camel muscle has raised additional food safety concerns. In this study, a feeding experiment was conducted to investigate the in vivo accumulation, excretion, distribution, and histopathological effects of dietary indospicine on camels. Six young camels (2–4 years old), weighing 270–390 kg, were fed daily a roughage diet consisting of Rhodes grass hay and lucerne chaff, supplemented with Indigofera and steam-flaked barley. Indigofera (I. spicata) was offered at 597 mg DM/kg body weight (bw)/day, designed to deliver 337 μg indospicine/kg bw/day, and fed for a period of 32 days. Blood and muscle biopsies were collected over the period of the study. Concentrations of indospicine in the plasma and muscle biopsy samples were quantitated by validated ultraperformance liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS). The highest concentrations in plasma (1.01 mg/L) and muscle (2.63 mg/kg fresh weight (fw)) were found at necropsy (day 33). Other tissues were also collected at necropsy, and analysis showed ubiquitous distribution of indospicine, with the highest indospicine accumulation detected in the pancreas (4.86 ± 0.56 mg/kg fw) and liver (3.60 ± 1.34 mg/kg fw), followed by the muscle, heart, and kidney. Histopathological examination of liver tissue showed multiple small foci of predominantly mononuclear inflammatory cells. After cessation of Indigofera intake, indospicine present in plasma in the remaining three camels had a longer terminal elimination half-life (18.6 days) than muscle (15.9 days), and both demonstrated monoexponential decreases.