The University of Arizona

Activated charcoal attenuates bitterweed toxicosis in sheep.

G.W. III. Poage, C.B. Scott, M.G. Bisson, S.F. Hartmann


We assessed the potential of activated charcoal to attenuate bitterweed (Hymenoxys odorata DC.) toxicosis in 3 trials. In Trial 1, lambs were offered a subacute level (.264% BW) of bitterweed and received either 0, .5, 1, or 1.5 g/kg BW of activated charcoal. In Trial 2, lambs were dosed (by gavage) with .264% BW of bitterweed and varying levels of activated charcoal followed by feeding milo (Sorghum sp.) immediate after dosing. A decrease in milo intake, which indicates aversive postingestive feedback, was interpreted to indicate that toxicosis occurred. In Trial 3, lambs were fed a 20% CP supplement with or without activated charcoal and then exposed to bitterweed and other forage species growing in pots; we counted the number of bites of each. In Trial 1, lambs refused to eat bitterweed after 10 days of exposure, thus the study was stopped. In Trial 2, lambs that received 1 or 1.5 g/kg BW of activated charcoal consumed more (p<0.05) milo than those receiving 0 g/kg BW. In Trial 3, lambs supplemented with activated charcoal took more (p<0.05) bites of bitterweed than lambs receiving a protein supplement alone. Lambs readily ate activated charcoal when added to a 20% crude protein supplement in a 10% mixture. Collectively, these results suggest activated charcoal will result in continued consumption of bitterweed which suggests avoidance of toxicosis. Activated charcoal also may be effective in preventing bitterweed toxicosis when combined with a supplement.



sesquiterpenoid lactones;detoxicants;Hymenoxys odorata;activated carbon;sorghum;dosage;concentrates;lambs;biting rates;poisonous weeds;selective grazing;forage;feed intake

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