Tannins and tapeworm thesis awarded Nor Feed botanicals prize

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© istock/nikkytok
© istock/nikkytok
A Nepalese researcher has won the 2016 Nor Feed Award for his work on plant-based products against parasites, notably tapeworm.

Nor Feed initiated the award last year; an independent expert jury selects the winner who also receives €5,000 in prize money.

A spokesperson for that French botanicals firm told us it received 20 applications from international researchers based in Egypt, Pakistan, Nigeria, Austria, Iran, Germany, South Korea, India, the US, France, Poland, Serbia, Argentina, Nepal, and South Africa.

Nor Feed said Suraj Dhakal’s winning thesis, Efficacy of bioactive plant products and praziquantel against Hymenolepis diminuta (Cestoda) in the intermediate host Tenebrio molitor (Coleoptera), ​looked at the effectiveness of tannins including Corylus Avellana, Pinus sp. ​and Trifolium repens​ compared to a drug, the anthelmintic, praziquantel.  

Although there is a long history of use in relation to plant extracts and animal health, there has been limited academic research on the subject, said the Angers based company.

“Plant characterization studies are scarce - based on a review of the titles of French veterinary theses over the past few years, we estimated that scientific publications related to plant extracts and animal health represented 1% of those dissertations,”​ Nor Feed CEO, Olivier Clech, told us previously.

One of the goals of the award scheme is for Nor Feed to identify relevant projects in order to build and support scientific partnerships; the company said some of its products are the result of such collaboration between it, universities and industry.

Parasite control in livestock

The Nor Feed spokesperson told us Dhakal’s thesis, which was undertaken at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, was chosen because of its originality and uncomplicated delivery style.  

“Parasite control in livestock has relied intensively on prophylactic treatment with synthetic anthelmintics, but increasing resistance to such drugs and consumer requests for organic animal products increases the need for alternative control strategies.

“Bioactive plant compounds may offer potential alternatives for parasite control in vertebrates. Natural anti-parasitic compounds in plants such as condensed tannins (CT) have anthelmintic properties against a range of gastrointestinal nematodes, but for other helminths such effects are unexplored,”​ wrote Dhakal.

He found those compounds, among others, demonstrated positive benefits to control tapeworm.

“This is the first observation on anti-cestodal properties of CT from plant extracts which appeared to be positively linked to the presence of procyanidin tannins. Using an invertebrate host-parasite model suggests that the use of selected bioactive forages for livestock may play an important role in tapeworm control on farm animals and treatment to vertebrates,”​ concluded the researcher.

The winning thesis in 2015, which was conducted in collaboration with a team based at the Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), identified the role of the active compounds of Moringa oleifera​ extracts on the production performance and quality of poultry meat, through improving the antioxidant status of the birds.

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