Original Research

Spatial variation of epoxyscillirosidine concentrations in Moraea pallida (yellow tulp) in South Africa

Christo J. Botha, Heleen Coetser, Rowena A. Schultz, Leonie Labuschagne, Deon van der Merwe
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 80, No 1 | a543 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v80i1.543 | © 2013 Christo J. Botha, Heleen Coetser, Rowena A. Schultz, Leonie Labuschagne, Deon van der Merwe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0
Submitted: 05 December 2012 | Published: 31 May 2013

About the author(s)

Christo J. Botha, Department of Paraclinical Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Heleen Coetser, Division of Toxicology, Agricultural Research Council-Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute, South Africa
Rowena A. Schultz, Division of Toxicology, Agricultural Research Council-Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute
Leonie Labuschagne, Division of Toxicology, Agricultural Research Council-Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute, South Africa
Deon van der Merwe, Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Kansas State University, United States


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Abstract

Moraea pallida (yellow tulp) poisoning is economically the most important intoxication of livestock in South Africa. Poisoning varies according to locality, climatic conditions and growth stage of the plant. The primary objective of this study was to determine the concentration of the toxic principle, epoxyscillirosidine, in yellow tulp leaves and to ascertain the variability of epoxyscillirosidine concentrations within and between different locations. A secondary objective was to utilise Geographic Information Systems in an attempt to explain the variability in toxicity. Flowering yellow tulp plants were collected at 26 sampling points across 20 districts of South Africa. The leaves of five plants per sampling point were extracted and submitted for liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry analysis. A large variation in mean epoxyscillirosidine concentrations, ranging from 3.32 μg/g – 238.27 μg/g, occurred between different geographical regions. The epoxyscillirosidine concentrations also varied tremendously between individual plants (n= 5) collected at the same sampling point, with up to a 24 times difference between the lowest and highest concentration detected. No generalised correlation between epoxyscillirosidine concentrations and soil elemental concentrations could be established. However, samples obtained from the north-eastern part of the sampling region tended to have higher epoxyscillirosidine concentrations compared to samples obtained from the south-western part of the sampling region. Higher toxin concentrations in the northeast were associated with statistically significant higher soil concentrations of iron, bismuth, bromide, cadmium, chromium, rubidium, tellurium, thallium, titanium and zinc, whilst soil concentrations of strontium and soil pH, were significantly lower. This study corroborated the contention that epoxyscillirosidine concentration in yellow tulp fluctuates and may explain the variability in toxicity.

Keywords

Epoxyscillirosidine; Geographic Information System; Moraea pallida; Plant poisoning; Spatial variation; Yellow tulp

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