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Anthelmintic activity of chicory (Cichorium intybus): in vitro effects on swine nematodes and relationship to sesquiterpene lactone composition



Chicory is a perennial crop that has been investigated as a forage source for outdoor-reared ruminants and pigs, and has been reported to have anthelmintic properties. Here, we investigated in vitro anthelmintic effects of forage chicory-extracts against the highly prevalent swine parasites Ascaris suum and Oesophagostomum dentatum. Methanol extracts were prepared and purified from two different cultivars of chicory (Spadona and Puna II). Marked differences were observed between the anthelmintic activity of extracts from the two cultivars. Spadona extracts had potent activity against A. suum third (L3) and fourth (L4) – stage larvae, as well as O. dentatum L4 and adults, whereas Puna II extracts had less activity against A. suum and no activity towards O. dentatum L4. Transmission-electron microscopy of A. suum L4 exposed to Spadona extracts revealed only subtle changes, perhaps indicative of a specific anthelmintic effect rather than generalized toxicity. Ultra-high liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis revealed that the purified extracts were rich in sesquiterpene lactones (SL), and that the SL profile differed significantly between cultivars. This is the first report of anthelmintic activity of forage chicory towards swine nematodes. Our results indicate a significant anthelmintic effect, which may possibly be related to SL composition.


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*Corresponding author: Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, University of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg C, Denmark. E-mail:


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