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Research article2004Peer reviewed

Field studies on the biological control of nematode parasites of sheep in the tropics, using the microfungus Duddingtonia flagrans

Chandrawathani P, Jamnah O, Adnan M, Waller PJ, Larsen M, Gillespie AT


Long-term field studies were conducted on two government managed small ruminant research farms, located in different geo-climatic regions and approximately 300 km separate from each other, on Peninsula Malaysia. The Infoternak trial (48 weeks) and the Chalok trial (43 weeks) each compared nematode parasite control in separately managed groups of young sheep, either short-term rotationally grazed around a suite of 10 paddocks in addition to receiving a daily supplement of Duddingtonia flagrans spores (Fungus Group); or similar groups of sheep being rotationally grazed alone (Control Group). The prevailing weather conditions at Infoternak farm were of below average rainfall conditions for the most of the trial. As a consequence, only very low worm infections (almost exclusively Haemonchus contortus) were acquired by the 17 sets of tracer lambs that grazed sequentially with the experimental lambs. However on all except 2 occasions in the early part of the trial, the mean tracer worm burdens were significantly lower (P < 0.05) and the experimental lambs grew significantly better (P = 0.054) in the Fungus Group. Rainfall at Chalok farm during the course of the trial was also below average. As a consequence infectivity of pastures was assumed to be relatively low based on faecal egg counts (epg) of the experimental sheep, which following an anthelmintic treatment prior to allocation, remained very low in both treatment groups. Faecal egg counts of undosed replacement lambs in the latter half of the Chalok study, showed a progressive increase in the Control Group to levels exceeding 3000 epg, whereas the Fungus Group remained static at approximately 500 epg. These results show that the deployment of the nematophagous fungus, D. flagrans, can improve the level of parasite control of sheep in the tropics above that which can be achieved by the short-term rotational grazing strategy alone. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved

Published in

Veterinary Parasitology
2004, Volume: 120, number: 3, pages: 177-187

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