January 6, 2021


Scottish researchers develop synthetic mini cattle stomachs for parasite study


Moredun Research Institute and the Roslin Institute at Edinburgh University researchers have collaborated to develop three-dimensional cell structures that mirror cattle stomachs for the study of a worm parasite, The Press and Journal UK reported.


The synthetic mini stomachs will be used in a research of Ostertagia ostertagi, a gastrointestinal worm parasite that infects millions of cattle around the world.


Dr Tom McNeilly from the Moredun Research Institute said a survey of UK abattoirs showed that 89% of cattle have had an infection from the parasite.


Dr McNeilly said the parasite causes losses in calf growth-rates, carcase quality, and milk production, adding that it lives in the abomasum of the cattle.


He said because of parasite suppressing immune responses within the cattle's stomach lining, it can take months for cattle to develop immunity to the parasite.


He said the use of the synthetic mini-stomachs allows the researchers to get a detailed analysis of how the worms interact with the cells lining the stomach. It can also test the effects of anthelmintic drugs on worms while they in the synthetic cattle stomach environment.


Dr McNeilly said he hopes through the synthetic cattle stomach, a new method to control the parasite can be developed.


- The Press and Journal UK