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TDK conference 2018

The analysis of plant fructan content and pasture associated laminitis
Gazsi Zsófia - year 6
University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest, Department of Botany
Supervisors: Dr. Daniel Cserhalmi, Dr. Orsolya Korbacska-Kutasi


Laminitis if one of the most common disorders of horses which which is characterised by the inflammation of the hoof. Several factors are involved in its developement and one of the primary causes is inadequate nutrition. Former reseaches have already proved that the increased rate of water soluble carbohydrate intake can increase the risk of laminitis. Fructan is a fructose polymer which just like starch can also lead to the developement of the same disease. Contrary to starch which can be found mainly in grains, high fructan content can be found in certain pasture grasses. The disease is more prevalent in the early sping and winter period when plants may store higher proportion of fructans. In spite of the disease is presumably present in Hungary there haven’t been any research on the fructan content of grass species or the prevalence of pasture associated laminitis. Thus the main goal of our research was to measure the fructan levels in grassland species to decide if it was enough to induce laminitis. We colledted leaf samples of ten different species during the sping and winter periods. We selected the study areas based on an internet survey on the prevalence of pasture associated laminitis. Samples were analysed with two different methods for fructan detection. The Harley and Loughman method is widely applied in botanical studies which measures the total fructan content while the commercially available Megazyme Fructan Assay Kit can determine the anhydro-fructan content. Based on our results samples showed lower fructan levels at every study locations established by former studies in other geographical areas where laminitis was more common. However the results of the Fructan Kit showed higher standard deviation which suggested a lower reliability of the method. Taraxacum officinale showed the highest fructan content in both sampling periods. There’s no clear trend of the other taxons considering the fructan content. Our research also demonstrated that some species with high fructan content (e.g. Trifolium repens) could not be considered as a risk factor in Hungary in the winter - even if other studies may suggest it - as shoots had disappeared from the pastures earlier than the high risk period. Our results also suggest that the measured low fructan level of grassland species couldn’t be the only factor of the grassland induced laminitis occurring in certain areas. However results are not adequate for long-term predictions thus we need to broaden our research with new study areas that may help us to know more about the fructan content of the Hungarian grasslands.

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