Original Research

Nicotiana glauca poisoning in ostriches (Struthio camelus)

C. J. Botha, P. A. Steenkamp, A. Olivier, L. C. Bekker
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 82, No 2 | a44 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jsava.v82i2.44 | © 2011 C. J. Botha, P. A. Steenkamp, A. Olivier, L. C. Bekker | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 April 2011 | Published: 11 April 2011

About the author(s)

C. J. Botha, Department of Paraclinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort, 0110 South Africa., South Africa
P. A. Steenkamp, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Biosciences, Private Bag X2, Modderfontein, 1645 South Africa., South Africa
A. Olivier, Ostrich Research Laboratory, PO Box 241, Oudtshoorn, 6620 South Africa., South Africa
L. C. Bekker, Department of Paraclinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort, 0110 South Africa., South Africa

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Abstract

Putative Nicotiana glauca (wild tobacco) poisoning was diagnosed in a flock of ostriches near Oudtshoorn, South Africa. Post mortem examinations (n = 7) were performed on ostriches (Struthio camelus) that had died. Suspicious leaf remnants (weighing 80–770 g), packed in a layer on top of other plant material, were carefully separated from the proventricular content and submitted for chemical determination of anabasine, the major toxic principle contained by this plant. A standard solid phase extraction method was used followed by an optimised liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry procedure. Anabasine was detected in the leaf remnants (114–177 μg/g dry weight) removed from the proventriculus of the ostriches that succumbed as well as in control N. glauca leaves (193 μg/g dry weight). The analytical methods used in this study revealed the presence of anabasine in the suspicious leaf remnants, indicating that the birds had been exposed to N. glauca and had died of this poisoning.

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