A quick and simple method, usable in the field, for collecting parasites in suitable condition for both morphological and molecular studies

Abstract : Many methods have been proposed for collecting and fixing parasites, but most were written before the molecular age, and were intended to be practised by experienced parasitologists in well-equipped laboratories. We describe here a very simple method, illustrated by photographs, for collecting helminths from the digestive tract of vertebrates. It only requires a few plastic vials, some ethanol and a means to heat water. Basically, the method consists of: (a) the extraction of all organs from the abdominal cavity; (b) opening the digestive system longitudinally; (c) agitate gut and contents in a saline solution (i.e. ca. 9% NaCl or ¼ sea water in tap water); (d) decant in saline as many times as needed to clean contents; (e) immediately fix parasites in near-boiling saline; (f) discard saline and keep specimens in 95% ethanol. Additional information is given for collecting parasites from fish gills with a similar process. The method will collect most helminths (digeneans, larval cestodes, nematodes, acanthocephalans) from the digestive tract, and monogeneans and isopod and copepod crustaceans from fish gills. The specimens will be suitable for both morphological study and DNA sequencing. The method is simple, fast, inexpensive, and can be used by untrained personnel, even in the field without electricity and without a binocular microscope. It can also be used by trained parasitologists who need to expedite treatment of abundant samples.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - 5:51:11 PM
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Jean-Lou Justine, Marine Briand, Rodney A. Bray. A quick and simple method, usable in the field, for collecting parasites in suitable condition for both morphological and molecular studies. Parasitology Research, Springer Verlag (Germany), 2012, 111 (1), pp.341-351. ⟨10.1007/s00436-012-2845-6⟩. ⟨mnhn-00666859v2⟩

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