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Effects of crude extracts of Mucuna pruriens (Fabaceae) and Carica papaya (Caricaceae) against the protozoan fish parasite Ichthyophthirius multifiliis

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The ciliate Ichthyophthirius multifiliis is among the most pathogenic parasites of fish maintained in captivity. In the present study, the effects of the crude methanolic extract of leaves of Mucuna pruriens and the petroleum-ether extract of seeds of Carica papaya against I. multifiliis were investigated under in vivo and in vitro conditions. Goldfish (Carassius auratus auratus) infected with the parasites were immersed for 72 h in baths with M. pruriens extract, and for 96 h in baths with C. papaya extract. There was a 90% reduction in numbers of I. multifiliis on fish after treatment in baths of each plant extract at 200 mg l−1 compared to untreated controls. Consequently, parasite-induced fish mortality was reduced significantly. A complete interruption of trophont recruitment was achieved by immersion in the M. pruriens extract. In vitro tests led to a 100% mortality of I. multifiliis in 150 mg/l M. pruriens extract, and in 200 mg/l of C. papaya extract after 6 h. Although the active constituents of the medicinal plant extracts are still unknown, we have demonstrated that they have potential for effective control of I. multifiliis.

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We acknowledge the financial assistance given to Albert Ekanem by the Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH (253881 SB-Nr.: 38). We thank Mr. Manfred Wirt for useful advice and discussions, and Mrs. Doris Thoms and Mrs. Antje Tillack for technical assistance.

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Correspondence to K. Knopf.

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Ekanem, A.P., Obiekezie, A., Kloas, W. et al. Effects of crude extracts of Mucuna pruriens (Fabaceae) and Carica papaya (Caricaceae) against the protozoan fish parasite Ichthyophthirius multifiliis . Parasitol Res 92, 361–366 (2004).

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