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Parasitol Res. 1997;83(5):440-4.

The effect of high n-3 fatty acids diets on the ultrastructural development of Eimeria tenella.

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USDA-ARS, Livestock and Poultry Sciences Institute, Parasite Biology and Epidemiology Laboratory, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA.


A study of development of Eimeria tenella in chickens fed high n-3 fatty acids (n-3FA) diets showed ultrastructural degeneration of both asexual and sexual parasite stages. Abnormal shedding of asexual and sexual parasite developmental stages into the cecal lumen was also observed. Ultrastructural degeneration was characterized by cytoplasmic vacuolization, chromatin condensation within the nucleus, a lack of parasitophorous vacuole delineation, and, in some cases, a complete loss of parasite ultrastructural organization. The results of this study indicate that diets high in n-3FA may be useful in the control of avian coccidia.

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