Original Research

Poisonous plants : historical overview : Onderstepoort and veterinary research in Africa

T.S. Kellerman
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 76, No 1 | a56 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v76i1.56 | © 2009 T.S. Kellerman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 September 2009 | Published: 10 September 2009

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T.S. Kellerman,

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Abstract

South Africa is blessed with one of the richest floras in the world, which - not surprisingly - includes many poisonous plants. Theiler in the founding years believed that plants could be involved in the aetiologies of many of the then unexplained conditions of stock, such as gousiekte and geeldikkop. His subsequent investigations of plant poisonings largely laid the foundation for the future Sections of Toxicology at the Institute and the Faculty of Veterinary Science (UP). The history of research into plant poisonings over the last 100 years is briefly outlined. Some examples of sustained research on important plant poisonings, such as cardiac glycoside poisoning and gousiekte, are given to illustrate our approach to the subject and the progress that has been made. The collation and transfer of information and the impact of plant poisonings on the livestock industry is discussed and possible avenues of future research are investigated.

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