Fungi traps for animal parasites
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CTA. 1996. Fungi traps for animal parasites. Spore 63. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47330
Predatory fungi that capture their prey with sticky 'traps' and 'nets' are being commandeered in the fight against worm parasites of livestock. All over the world, there is an increasing problem of internal parasites in livestock showing resistance...
Predatory fungi that capture their prey with sticky 'traps' and 'nets' are being commandeered in the fight against worm parasites of livestock. All over the world, there is an increasing problem of internal parasites in livestock showing resistance to chemical drenches. Researchers at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), in Australia, are working to develop alternatives. The strategies being developed include parasite resistant sheep, vaccines and biological control. At the Division of Animal Production, researchers have been looking at nematophagous (nematode-feeding) fungi which are found world-wide in rich agricultural soils. These fungi catch their prey with special organs, such as sticky nets, knobs and rings which entrap the nematode worms, penetrate and destroy them. To work effectively, it was necessary to find species of fungi whose spores could survive passage through the digestive system of livestock and then germinate in fresh dung, in order to be able to capture the infective stages of the worm parasite before the worms contaminated the pastures. Over 2000 dung samples were screened in order to identify useful species. The strategy is to feed the spores to livestock either in feed supplement blocks or in controlled release devices; spraying them on pasture is not practical. CSIRO scientists do not see the fungi as being able to eradicate the pest, but they will reduce the larval population on pastures and remove the very high levels of contamination that lead to clinical parasitic disease. Since the fungi are easily propagated on wheat or other grain substrates, the researchers see no reason why they cannot be used anywhere in the world. Division of Animal Production CSIRO, Locked Bag 1 Delivery Centre, Blacktown 2148 New South Wales, AUSTRALIA