Next Article in Journal
DNA Testing and Genetic Evaluation for Poll Breeding in Tropically Adapted Beef Cattle
Previous Article in Journal
Metal-Doped Copper Indium Disulfide Heterostructure: Environment-Friendly Hole-Transporting Material toward Photovoltaic Application in Organic-Inorganic Perovskite Solar Cell
Font Type:
Arial Georgia Verdana
Font Size:
Aa Aa Aa
Line Spacing:
Column Width:

Biopolymer Composites for Slow Release to Manage Pimelea Poisoning in Cattle †

School of Chemical Engineering, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
Agri-Science Queensland, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), Brisbane, QLD 4102, Australia
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI), The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4108, Australia
Author 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), 97;
Published: 13 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Proceedings of The Third International Tropical Agriculture Conference (TROPAG 2019))


Cattle grazing the pastures of inland Australia can be poisoned by ingestion of certain native Pimelea plant species, particularly Pimelea trichostachya and Pimelea simplex. The Pimelea toxin, simplexin, causes often fatal restriction of the pulmonary venules, with resultant heart impacts and characteristic fluid accumulation (oedema) of the jaw and brisket regions. In certain years heavy livestock losses can occur. Currently, there is no effective vaccine or antidote for Pimelea poisoning and the only management strategy is to reduce contact between toxic plants and susceptible stock, for beef producers to avoid potentially devastating poisoning events. Nevertheless, previous research has demonstrated that prolonged low dose feeding diminished the effect in animals. It was postulated that the animal exposed to prolonged low doses developed a mechanism for detoxifying simplexin, possibly through adaptation of the rumen microbial environment. The present study seeks to investigate the use of a biopolymer/toxin composite to foster toxin-degrading microbe populations. The objectives are to manufacture biopolymer composites based on biodegradable polylactic acid (PLA), polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) and/or polycaprolactone (PCL), as toxin slow-release systems for the rumen that would have broad utility across a range of plant toxins and other beneficial rumen compounds. The poster covers the manufacturing, characterisation and performance of the biopolymers in a simulated rumen environment. Preliminary results of different biopolymers/composites containing Pimelea material and toxin extracts in an in vitro simulated rumen environment for up to 30 days are presented. It was found that the release rate could be tailored by choosing the right type of biopolymer.

Author Contributions

Material preparation, characterization and performance analysis: E.G.; Writing—original draft preparation, E.G.; writing—review and editing, E.G., D.O., M.T.F., B.L.; funding acquisition, M.T.F.; supervision, M.T.F, B.L. 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 Translational Polymer Research Group members and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries technical staff.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Share and Cite

MDPI and ACS Style

Gauthier, E.; Ouwerkerk, D.; Laycock, B.; Fletcher, M. Biopolymer Composites for Slow Release to Manage Pimelea Poisoning in Cattle. Proceedings 2019, 36, 97.

AMA Style

Gauthier E, Ouwerkerk D, Laycock B, Fletcher M. Biopolymer Composites for Slow Release to Manage Pimelea Poisoning in Cattle. Proceedings. 2019; 36(1):97.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gauthier, Emilie, Diane Ouwerkerk, Bronwyn Laycock, and Mary Fletcher. 2019. "Biopolymer Composites for Slow Release to Manage Pimelea Poisoning in Cattle" Proceedings 36, no. 1: 97.

Article Metrics

Back to TopTop