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Forestry by-products as novel therapeutics for parasite control in livestock


Plant secondary metabolites (PSM) include compounds with reported anthelmintic properties. To date, incorporation of PSM for parasite control has been hampered by variation in PSM content in tree-bark extracts, which results in variation in biological activity and thus inconsistency of effect. In this project, we will develop a workflow to address the limitation of irreproducible extract formation that has held back this approach to date. To achieve this, we will deliver a bark extract evaluation system that can usefully predict the biological activity of UK bark extracts for inclusion in parasite control strategies. Once complete, this will allow the creation of a realistic strategy to develop an integrated biorefinery based on the use of bark that can be applied on an industrial scale and so drive parasite control in livestock. Compounds present in bark extracts that demonstrate anthelmintic activity will be identified and isolated. Four different strategies will be used to identify compounds: (i) compound identification through use of existing preliminary data; (ii) compound identification via a detailed literature review; (iii) compound identification from UK bark extracts via high resolution MS profiling targeted MS/MS analysis and association with biological activity and (iv) bioactivity guided compound isolation from "the most active UK bark extract". The implementation of this multi-dimensional research approach mitigates the risk of single-strategy-failure, as it is built on preliminary data and uses methods familiar to us to generate knowledge on active compounds in plant extracts. Central to this work is the ability to test the biological activity of all the identified compounds with two anthelmintic assays. Quantification of the biological activity of individual compounds and association of abundance of compounds with biological activity, will be used to create the bark Activity Index as a predictor of the anthelmintic activity of crude bark extracts.

Dr Claus-Dieter Mayer
The James Hutton Institute
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