In 2021, severe liver disease was investigated in a cluster of 68 domestic dogs around Bairnsdale, Victoria (26 dog died). In this investigation, our QAAFI laboratory identified the natural toxin indospicine in both dog tissues and suspect petmeat by LC-MS/MS analysis. Indospicine is a non-protein amino acid found in Indigofera linnaei a native Australian legume prevalent in arid pastures of northern Australia. But how was this plant linked with dog deaths in Victoria? Indospicine is unusual in that it accumulates in tissues of livestock grazing Indigofera linnaei. In this case, dog deaths resulted from consumption of indospicine-contaminated horse meat (originating from central Australia).

Mary headshotProfessor Mary Fletcher 

Professor Mary Fletcher is a natural product organic chemist and leads a research group within the QAAFI Centre for Animal Science. She has previously worked as a research chemist at both the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and The University Queensland, before joining QAAFI in 2010. Prof Fletcher’s research focuses on the identification and analysis of natural toxins and other bioactives in a range of plants, fungi and agricultural products. Her research covers animals from cattle to native bee species and includes the identification of unusual low GI sugars in the honey of Australian stingless bee species.

Professor Mary Fletcher, Professorial Research Fellow at Centre for Animal Science E: mary.fletcher@uq.edu.au

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About Science Seminars

Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation hosts science seminars across the disciplines of animal, horticulture, crop, food and nutritional sciences.

With a range of speakers from Australia and abroad, the series explores how high-impact science will significantly improve the competitiveness and sustainability of the tropical and sub-tropical food, fibre and agribusiness sectors.

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The Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation is a research institute at The University of Queensland supported by the Queensland Government via the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.


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