Effect of tanniniferous browse meal on nematode faecal egg counts and

Author: R.A. Max, A.E. Kimambo, A.A. Kassuku, L.A. Mtenga and P.J. Buttery
Year: 2007
Issue: 2
Volume: 37
Page: 97 - 106

The effect of tanniniferous browse meal on faecal egg counts (FEC) and intestinal worm burdens was investigated in sheep and goats infested experimentally with gastrointestinal nematodes. Initially, leaves of different browse tree species were assayed for condensed tannin (CT) content using a colorimetric method to determine concentration and seasonal variations. The level of CT in the leaves ranged between 58 – 283 g/kg dry matter. Seasonal changes in CT levels were influenced by stage of leaf maturity with peak levels after the wet season in June. Leaves of Acacia polyacantha had the highest tannin concentration and were used to test their anthelmintic effect in goats and sheep infested with the nematodes in two separate feeding trials. In Trial 1 an acacia leaf meal supplement (AMS) was offered at 100 – 130 g/animal/day for 20 days to growing Small East African goats to investigate its effect on FEC and worm burden. Mean FEC and worm burden of the AMS-fed group were respectively 27% and 13% lower than in the control group. Trial 2 was similar to Trial 1 except that AMS was offered for 30 days to growing Black Head Persian sheep at 170 g/animal/day. The sheep receiving AMS showed a slight reduction in FEC (on average 19% lower than the control group) but had no effect on worm burden. The current results substantiated previous reports of a suppressing effect of CT on gastrointestinal nematodes of small ruminants. Although the observed anthelmintic activity of AMS was less than expected, such reductions can have practical epidemiological implications in reducing pasture larval contamination. Further studies are needed under field conditions to evaluate the feasibility of using locally available tanniniferous browse as an alternative to synthetic anthelmintics in reducing worm infestations in small ruminants.

Keywords: Condensed tannins, faecal egg counts, nematodes, small ruminants, tanniniferous browse
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