Toxicity of Heliotropium dolosum, Heliotropium circinatum, and Senecio vernalis in Parental Quail and Their Progeny, with Residue Evaluation of Eggs


Abstract: In all, 160 Japanese quail (80 male and 80 female) were divided into 4 groups (3 test groups and 1 control group). The test groups were fed a diet containing aerial parts (leaves, stems, and flowers) of Senecio vernalis (SV group), Heliotropium dolosum (HD group), or Heliotropium circinatum (HC group) at the level of 30% for 6 weeks, and the control group was fed 0% in order to evaluate parental and progenial toxicity, along with the transference of alkaloid residues to their eggs. The pyrrolizidine alkaloid content in the feed was 390 mg/kg in the HD group, 450 mg/kg in the HC group, and 420 mg/kg in the SV group. No clinical signs or death occurred in the test groups; however, egg production and hatchability significantly decreased in all test groups, as compared to the control group. In spite of the occurrence of specific biochemical and histopathological changes in parental quail, no remarkable changes were observed in their progeny on post-hatching days 0, 10, 20, 30, or 40. Gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis of the eggs indicated the presence of 8.66 \mu g/g of the pyrrolizidine alkaloid europine in the HD group, 19.05 \mu /g of europine and 1.46 \mu g/g of heliotrine in the HC group, and 3.21 \mu g/g of senecionine in the SV group at the end of study. In conclusion, the results of the present study provide experimental evidence that the alkaloids transferred to the eggs of quail fed high doses of pyrrolizidine alkaloid-containing plant material.

Keywords: Pyrrolizidine alkaloids, quail, egg, residue, transference, pathological findings, biochemical findings

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