Lupin (Lupinus spp.) seeds exert anthelmintic activity associated with their alkaloid content

Sci Rep. 2019 Jun 21;9(1):9070. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-45654-6.


The growing range of drug resistant parasitic nematode populations threatens the sustainability of ruminant farming worldwide. In this context, nutraceuticals, animal feed that provides necessary dietary requirements while ensuring parasite control, could contribute to increase farming sustainability in developed and low resource settings. In this study, we evaluated the anthelmintic potential of lupin seed extracts against the major ruminant trichostrongylids, Haemonchus contortus and Teladorsagia circumcincta. In vitro observations showed that seed extracts from commercially available lupin varieties could significantly but moderately inhibit larval migration. This anthelmintic effect was mediated by the seed alkaloid content and was potent against both fully susceptible and multidrug resistant H. contortus isolates as well as a susceptible T. circumcincta isolate. Analytical chemistry revealed a set of four lupanine and sparteine-derivatives with anthelmintic activity, and electrophysiology assays on recombinant nematode acetylcholine receptors suggested an antagonistic mode of action for lupin alkaloids. An in vivo trial in H. contortus infected lupin-fed ewes and goats failed to demonstrate any direct anthelmintic effect of crude lupin seeds but infected lupin-fed goats suffered significantly less parasite-mediated blood losses. Altogether, our findings suggest that the anthelmintic potential of lupin remains limited. However, the potent alkaloids identified could lead to the development of novel drugs or may be used in combination with current anthelmintics to improve their efficacy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / analysis*
  • Animals
  • Anthelmintics / pharmacology*
  • Lupinus / embryology*
  • Nematoda / drug effects
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Seeds / chemistry*


  • Alkaloids
  • Anthelmintics
  • Plant Extracts