Alex Dulovic, Vadim Puller and Adrian Streit
Exp. Parasitol., vol. 168, 25--30, 2016
The rat parasitic nematode Strongyloides ratti (S. ratti) has recently emerged as a model system for various aspects of parasite biology and evolution. In addition to parasitic parthenogenetic females, this species can also form facultative free-living generations of sexually reproducing adults. These free-living worms are bacteriovorous and grow very well when cultured in the feces of their host. However, in fecal cultures the worms are rather difficult to find for observation and experimental manipulation. Therefore, it has also been attempted to raise S. ratti on Nematode Growth Media (NGM) plates with Escherichia coli OP50 as food, exactly as described for the model nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Whilst worms did grow on these plates, their longevity and reproductive output compared to fecal cultures were dramatically reduced. In order to improve the culture success we tested other plates occasionally used for C. elegans and, starting from the best performing one, systematically varied the plate composition, the temperature and the food in order to further optimize the conditions. Here we present a plate culturing protocol for free-living stages of S. ratti with strongly improved reproductive success and longevity.