Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Using fungus to control parasites

Since 1997, CSIRO researchers and their partners at Sydney-based company, International Animal Health Products Pty Ltd, have worked to develop effective methods to grow and introduce the fungus, Duddingtonia flagrans, into livestock feed.

The breakthrough follows years of research to prove the effectiveness of the naturally occurring fungus which traps and eats nematode parasites.

The spores survive passage through the gut of animals and pass into the manure where they germinate alongside the nematode eggs, trapping and feeding on the newly emerging larvae. The fungus is environmentally friendly as it has no measurable impact on soil microfauna and does not persist in the soil after killing off the parasites.

According to the researchers, "Used in conjunction with effective chemotherapy and grazing management practices, biological control will be a valuable addition to integrated parasite control programs.”

CSIRO article

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