Quality monitoring of Liver fluke metacercariae

At our laboratory part of the work we do is to maintain several colonies of snails, these are the intermediate host in the life cycle of the liver fluke Fasciola hepatica. The metacercariae we produce are supplied to Universities and Pharmaceutical Companies and used in research to gain a better understanding of the parasite, its control and the growing problem of its resistance to anthelmintic treatments.


To ensure the metacercariae we supply to our customers are the best they can be, we clean them regularly, monitor their quality and select only the viable healthy cysts before dispatch. Below are images that show the difference between a viable and an unviable cyst.

Left image: Viable metacercariae, Right image: Unviable metacercariae

Additionally to this, we endeavour to supply the youngest cysts where possible, and we will only supply metacercariae that are less than 4 months old. The data shown in the graph 1 below was collected from a storage test we carried out using our triclabendazole susceptible Italian strain of liver fluke. This clearly demonstrates that there is a sharp and steep decline in the viability of the cysts after 6 months of storage.

Graph 2 shows this data the % decrease in viability over 12 months. After 4 months the viability of the metacercariae cysts has decreased by 6.5%, at 6 months by 18.2% and after 12 months to 96.3%.

If you are planning or conducting research into Fasciola hepatica please contact our laboratory through Ridgeway Research Enquiries on our website.