Embryonation ability of Ascaridia galli eggs isolated from worm uteri or host faeces
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Experimental infection models for Ascaridia galli rely on the use of eggs isolated either directly from worm uteri or from host faeces. We investigated whether A. galli eggs isolated from the two sources differ in their embryonation ability. A. galli eggs originating from 12 worm infrapopulations were isolated both from faeces of the living host (faecal eggs) and directly from worm uteri after host necropsy (uterine eggs). The isolated eggs from each infrapopulation and source were incubated in Petri dishes (n = 24) containing a potassium-dichromate (0.1%) medium for 28 days (d) at room temperature. Starting from the day of egg isolation (d0), in ovo larval development was evaluated every second day by examining morphological characteristics of 200 eggs/petri dish. A total of 72,000 eggs were classified into undeveloped, early development, vermiform or fully embryonated stages. Isolation procedures caused similar damage to uterine and faecal eggs (2.2% and 0.5%, respectively; P = 0.180). The first sign of in ovo embryonic development in faecal eggs (7%) was observed during the 24-h period when faeces were collected. On d28, a higher percentage of uterine eggs remained undeveloped when compared with faecal eggs (58.6% vs 11.0%; P < 0.001). Although a higher (P < 0.001) percentage of faecal eggs entered both the early developmental and vermiform stages, which took place primarily within the first two weeks of incubation, there was no time-shift between the development of faecal and uterine eggs. Starting from day 10, higher (P < 0.05) percentages of faecal eggs completed embryonation compared with uterine equivalents. Eggs from both sources reached a plateau of embryonation by the end of 2nd week of incubation, with faecal eggs having a greater than two-fold higher embryonation ability. Cumulative mortality was higher in uterine eggs (14.3%) than in faecal eggs (0.2%). We conclude that faecal eggs have a higher embryonation ability than uterine eggs possibly due to maturation differences.