Anaerobic fermentation results in loss of viability of Fasciola hepatica metacercariae in grass silage

John, Bethan C ORCID: 0000-0002-1160-0330, Davies, David R, Howell, Alison K ORCID: 0000-0002-1988-1376, Williams, Diana JL ORCID: 0000-0001-8186-7236 and Hodgkinson, Jane E ORCID: 0000-0001-9152-8481
(2020) Anaerobic fermentation results in loss of viability of Fasciola hepatica metacercariae in grass silage. VETERINARY PARASITOLOGY, 285. 109218-.

[img] Text
B. John. Revised Manuscript.docx - Author Accepted Manuscript

Download (82kB)


The parasitic liver fluke, Fasciola hepatica, has a detrimental impact on food security and poses a welfare concern to ruminant livestock. F. hepatica metacercariae, shed from an intermediate mud snail host, encyst on vegetation and present a source of infection to grazing livestock. Feeding grass silage to ruminants is a common practice, however the role it plays in the transmission of F. hepatica remains largely unknown. Our current understanding relies on historical studies that are not representative of current silage production and did not apply molecular methods to detect F. hepatica DNA persistence within silages. This study determined the impact of specific fermentation factors, including grass dry matter (DM) content (20, 30 & 40 %), length of ensiling period and maintaining an anaerobic environment on F. hepatica metacercariae viability. In vitro excystment assays demonstrated that regardless of grass DM content, metacercariae ensiled under anaerobic conditions were not viable from two weeks post-sealing. Metacercariae recovered from ensiled grass of 20 % DM content subjected to aerobic spoilage, remained viable for up to 10 weeks. DNA of F. hepatica remained detectable for up to 10 weeks in both anaerobic and spoiled silages. This study highlights i) the importance of maintaining an anaerobic ensiling environment to eliminate the risk of F. hepatica transmission from silage and ii) an inverse relationship between grass DM content and duration of metacercariae survival within spoiled silages. Improving our understanding of trematode metacercariae survival rates within silages, especially of highly pathogenic species such as F. hepatica, allows farmers to make informed decisions regarding on-farm parasite control.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fasciola hepatica, Metacercariae, Trematode, Silage, Aerobic spoilage
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2020 09:25
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 23:35
DOI: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2020.109218
Related URLs: