Efficacy of Naturally Occurring Anthelmintics in Fruit By-Products to Control Intestinal Parasites in Small Ruminants

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2012: $9,900.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2014
Grant Recipient: The Ohio State University
Region: North Central
State: Ohio
Graduate Student:
Faculty Advisor:
Dr. Maurice Eastridge
The Ohio State University

Annual Reports

Information Products


  • Fruits: grapes
  • Animals: sheep


  • Animal Production: feed additives, parasite control, preventive practices
  • Education and Training: extension
  • Farm Business Management: value added
  • Pest Management: botanical pesticides
  • Production Systems: holistic management, organic agriculture


    There is a critical need to identify natural anthelmintics for food animal production because of the increased resistance of intestinal parasites to commercial anthelmintics and the inability to use commercial anthelmintics for certified organic food production. Condensed tannins (CT) and flavonoids have been investigated and shown varied efficacy as natural anthelmintics. This research was done to investigate the effects of utilizing by-products of the juice and wine making industries, pomegranate husk (PH) and grape pomace (GP), which both contain these bioactive compounds of interest. An extraction was done on both by-products to determine the concentration of CT available. Pomegranate husk varieties of interest, Parifanka and Desertnyi, contained approximately 1.49 and 2.02% CT on a dry matter (DM) basis, respectively. Grape pomace varieties, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, contained 4.83 and 3.68% CT, respectively.

    In vitro batch culture was conducted in a slope ratio design to determine the effects of the by-products on dry matter degradation (DMD) when compared to and mixed with a control, alfalfa hay. Both varieties of GP had lower (P <0.05) DMD at 96 h with greater than 70% dry matter remaining (DMR), however both varieties of PH had similar digestibilities as alfalfa with approximately 40% DMR. There was an inverse response in DMD when GP was mixed with the ground alfalfa hay; as the proportion of GP to alfalfa increased, the DMD decreased (P < 0.05). Parifanka PH had a DMD similar to alfalfa and did not have a significant effect (P > 0.10) on DMD in mixed ratios. Desertnyi PH was observed to have slightly better digestibility than alfalfa, and the DMD decreased with increasing alfalfa.

    In vitro parasitology studies were done on stage three larvae of O. ostetagia using extracts of PH and GP. There were several varieties of PH available, so preliminary studies were done to determine two varieties showing highest efficacy on larvae to use in subsequent studies. The Sogidana and Wonderful varieties were used for the PH, and Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon varieties were used for GP. Overall, both PH and GP extracts had approximately twice the number of inactive larvae present (P < 0.05) in the well at 24 h when compared to the control, 32 to 41% inactivity versus 17% inactivity, respectively. Grape pomace extracts had a marginally greater (P < 0.05) efficacy on reducing the viability of the parasites than the pomegranate husk extracts at 24 h when observed at 12.5 mg/mL of crude extract. The PH had a higher extractability than GP was able to reach 50 mg/mL of crude extract. The Wonderful variety of PH had the highest (P < 0.05) efficacy against the parasites when compared to Sogidana at the same concentration and against the control.

    An egg hatch and larval development study was done on feces from parasitized lambs from different farming practices (organic versus conventional) in the presence or absence of GP extract (38 g CT/kg DM) to evaluate the effects of GP on egg hatchability and larval development. The GP treatment showed a 100% inhibition (P < 0.05) of egg hatch into developing larvae when compared to the control distilled water treatment.

    The data from the research conducted has shown that GP from the wine industry and PH have efficacy against larval helminth stages of GIP and GP also has efficacy against egg hatchability and larval development. The PH and GP could potentially have practical application in becoming a natural anthelmintic for small ruminants, but more in depth studies are needed to verify and finalize application methods.


    Much emphasis is being placed on decreasing the use of synthetic drugs in food animal production, and there are a limited number of drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration for some of the minor species (e.g., goats and sheep). Yet, intestinal parasites are among the primary health risks to the growth and survival of small ruminants. In addition, there is a need on further reducing the need of agricultural animals on human-edible foods while increasing the utilization of recycled agricultural waste or by-products. This project investigates improving animal health and production with use of bioactive based products, which, at the same time, might have social and environmental benefits. By using the by-products from juice and wine-making industries, the amount of waste is reduced, which would reduce the cost of waste disposal by the respective industries. This research gives an opportunity to provide a value-added component to the fruit industry and to improve the health, growth, and efficiency of production of small ruminants. The discoveries made from this research provide an opportunity for internal parasite control of animals in organic production practices. These aspects will aid in providing for a more efficient and affordable food system and improving economic viability of food production systems that can lead to economic benefits for both the plant and animal industries, while reducing dependency on chemical anthelmintics to assist in improving animal health and productivity. Utilizing by-products of the juicing and wine making industry is an area of relevance to Ohio, which ranks 10th in grape production, with about 5,700 tons annually harvested, and for small ruminants, with Ohio ranking 13th in sheep production (state with largest production east of the Mississippi River) with about 128,000 head. Ohio also has about 59,000 head of goats, and farmers are showing growing interest in meat goat production. This project has provided an opportunity for the researchers and farmers/producers to work together to gain experiences that can be taken from the lab and incorporated directly into farm practices.

    This research is part of the newly growing interest within the scientific community for determining the potential direct impacts of using pomegranate and grape by-product extracts on parasites and sheep. Preliminary research conducted by the coordinator of this project at Tuskegee University showed there is efficacy of pomegranate husk extracts in vitro against helminth parasites. There were very limited data available, however, to ensure that there would be no negative ruminal effects or to demonstrate in vivo efficacy of either pomegranate or grape by-products. There has been quite a bit of work done to support the use of several plant sources containing condensed tannins, flavonoids, and flavonols as natural sources of anthelmintics with regard to small ruminants; however, extensive information was also lacking within the scientific literature on the potential direct impacts of using pomegranate and grape by-product extracts, which also have these bioactive compounds, on internal parasites of sheep. The goal of this research project was to determine effects of these extracts on ruminal DM degradation and against helminth parasites. The overall hypotheses of this research were that GP and PH would significantly reduce the viability of helminth parasites without causing detrimental effects on DM degradation.

    Project objectives:

    The objectives of the study were:

    • Extract and quantify the naturally occurring bioactive compounds in pomegranate husk and grape pomace, as well as determine the effects of these bioactive compounds on ruminal microflora and fermentation
    • Determine the effects of pomegranate husk and grape pomace extracts on reducing parasite viability in vitro and to determine if extracts will be detrimental to certain life stages of helminth parasites

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.