Exposure of Toxocara canis eggs to Purpureocillium lilacinum as a biocontrol strategy: an experimental model evaluation

Abstract Purpureocillium lilacinum is a nematophagous fungus used in biological control against some parasites, including Toxocara canis. This study researched the infectivity of embryonated T. canis eggs after exposure to the fungus P. lilacinum. T. canis eggs were exposed to P. lilacinum for 15 or 30 days and subsequently administered to Swiss mice (n=20). Control group consisted of mice who received T. canis embryonated eggs without fungal exposure. Forty-eight hours after infection, heart, lung, and liver from animals of each group were collected to assess larval recovery. The organs of mice that received embryonated eggs exposed to the fungus showed a lower average larval recovery (P<0.05) suggesting that exposure of T. canis eggs to P. lilacinum was able to reduce experimental infection. Under the evaluated conditions, the interaction time between the fungus and the parasite eggs was not a significant factor in larvae recovery. P. lilacinum may be considered a promising T. canis biological control agent. However, further studies are needed to determine a protocol for the use of this fungus as a biological control agent.