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Goat-to-steer cud transplant.

Microorganisms taken from Hawaiian goats and given to Australian steers allow the steers to digest a forage plant that formerly made them ill. The plant is leucaena, a leguminous shrub that could be a valuable feed plant, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Leucaena resists droughts and stabilizes soil on slopes. It produces high yields of protein-rich fodder that is considered comparable to alfalfa in feed value.

Cattle and goats in Hawaii thrive on luecaena, but cattle eating it in Australia stop gaining weight, lose hair and get goiter and ulcers. Raymond J. Jones of the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization has shown the microbes in the irst stomach, or rumen, of the Hawaiian goats degrade a toxin produced from leucaena by enzymes both in the rumen and in the leucaena leaves. The toxic product, called 3-hydroxy-4(1H) pyridone (DHP), comes from the toxic amino acid mimosine. Microbes from steers and goats in Australia, as acid mimosine. Microbes from steers and goats in Australia, as well as in Iowa and Texas, do not degrade DHP.

When Australian animals are inoculated with the Hawaiian microbes, however, they can consume leucaena as more than 30 percent of the diet, Jones says. He found that animals receiving the microbes transmitted them to other animals in the herd. Scientists are now working on practical means of inoculating large numbers of cattle with the Hawaiian microbes.
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Title Annotation:cattle innoculations
Publication:Science News
Date:Jan 19, 1985
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