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Adsorbents for the Sequestration of the Pimelea Toxin, Simplexin †

Russell J. Gordon
Natasha L. Hungerford
Bronwyn Laycock
Diane Ouwerkerk
1,3,* and
Mary T. Fletcher
Queensland Alliance of Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI), The University of Queensland, Health and Food Sciences Precinct, Coopers Plains, Qld 4108, Australia
School of Chemical Engineering, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Qld 4072, Australia
Agri-Science Queensland, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dutton Park, Qld 4102, Australia
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Presented at the third International Tropical Agriculture Conference (TROPAG 2019), Brisbane, Australia, 11–13 November 2019.
Proceedings 2019, 36(1), 90;
Published: 12 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Proceedings of The Third International Tropical Agriculture Conference (TROPAG 2019))


Pimelea poisoning affects cattle grazing arid rangelands of Australia, has no known remedy and significant outbreaks can cost the industry $50 million per annum. Poisoning is attributable to consumption of native Pimelea plants containing the toxin simplexin. Charcoal, bentonite and other adsorbents are currently used by the livestock industry to mitigate the effects of mycotoxins. The efficacy of such adsorbents to mitigate Pimelea poisoning warrants investigation. Through a series of in vitro experiments, different adsorbents were evaluated for their effectiveness to bind simplexin using a simple single concentration, dispersive adsorbent rapid screening method. Initial experiments were conducted in a rumen fluid based medium, with increasing quantities of each adsorbent: sodium bentonite (Trufeed®, Sibelco Australia), biochar (Nutralick®Australia) and Elitox® (Impextraco, Belgium). Data showed the unbound concentration of simplexin decreased with increasing quantities of each adsorbent tested. Sodium bentonite performed best, removing ~95% simplexin at 12 mg/mL. A second experiment using a single amount of adsorbent included two additional adsorbents: calcium bentonite (Bentonite Resources, Australia) and a synthetic adsorbent (Waters, USA). The concentration of simplexin remaining in the solution after 1 h, the amount able to be desorbed off the adsorbent-toxin matrix with replacement fresh fluid, and the amount remaining bound to the adsorbent were measured. All samples containing an adsorbent were statistically different compared to the blank (p < 0.05), indicating some binding activity. Future work will explore the binding mechanisms and behaviour of the toxin-adsorbent complex in the lower gastrointestinal tract.

Author Contributions

Methodology, R.J.G.; data analysis, R.J.G.; Writing – original draft preparation, R.J.G.; writing – review and editing, R.J.G., N.L.H., D.O., B.L., M.T.F.; project administration, M.T.F.; funding acquisition, M.T.F.; supervision, M.T.F., B.L., N.L.H. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


This research was funded by Meat & Livestock Australia, grant number B.GBP.0023.


The authors acknowledge the support provided by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries technical staff at Agri-Science Queensland.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Share and Cite

MDPI and ACS Style

Gordon, R.J.; Hungerford, N.L.; Laycock, B.; Ouwerkerk, D.; Fletcher, M.T. Adsorbents for the Sequestration of the Pimelea Toxin, Simplexin. Proceedings 2019, 36, 90.

AMA Style

Gordon RJ, Hungerford NL, Laycock B, Ouwerkerk D, Fletcher MT. Adsorbents for the Sequestration of the Pimelea Toxin, Simplexin. Proceedings. 2019; 36(1):90.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gordon, Russell J., Natasha L. Hungerford, Bronwyn Laycock, Diane Ouwerkerk, and Mary T. Fletcher. 2019. "Adsorbents for the Sequestration of the Pimelea Toxin, Simplexin" Proceedings 36, no. 1: 90.

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