Australian veterinary journal

Successful transfer of DHP-degrading bacteria from Hawaiian goats to Australian ruminants to overcome the toxicity of Leucaena.

PMID 3790013


Cattle and goats in Australia lack the ability to totally degrade 3-hydroxy-4(1H)-pyridone, also known as 3,4-dihydroxy pyridine (3,4 DHP), the ruminal metabolite of mimosine, a toxic aminoacid present in the leguminous shrub Leucaena leucocephala. Ruminants in Hawaii have this capacity due to the presence of micro-organisms able to rapidly degrade the DHP. A mixed bacterial population capable of rapidly degrading DHP in vitro was isolated from a goat on the island of Maui. Cultures were grown anaerobically, without added sugars, in Medium 98-5 containing DHP. Cultures at a dilution of 10(-12) from the original rumen fluid were introduced into Townsville and further sub-cultured and multiplied in vitro in strict isolation at the Oonoonba Veterinary Laboratory, Townsville. Infusion of the culture into a goat and a steer fed a 100% leucaena diet resulted in cessation of DHP excretion in the urine. After 60 days the serum thyroxine levels and thyroid size were normal and there were no clinical signs of disease. The ability of the rumen fluid to degrade DHP in vitro showed that the bacteria had become established in the rumen. In the absence of any disease in the animals, clearance has been given for the wider use of these cultures in areas where leucaena is grown. The limited evidence suggests that the leucaena toxicity problem can be solved by the use of these introduced bacteria.

Related Materials

Product #



Molecular Formula

Add to Cart

2,3-Dihydroxypyridine, 95%