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Trypanocidal activity of a myristic acid analog in axenic cultures of Trypanosoma evansi

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Ross, C.A.; Taylor, A.M.
Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine, UK

The growth of bloodstream forms of Trypanosoma evansi in axenic culture was inhibited by incubation with 11-oxatetradecanoic acid (O-11), an analog of myristic acid. Parasites isolated from Asia, Africa and South America were affected to a similar extent in measurements using three different assay systems concerned with different aspects of trypanosome growth and metabolism. The concentration of O-11 that inhibited trypanosome growth by 50% (LD50) was 3.7-0.2 M as measured by direct counting of survivors using a haemocytometer, 5.1-2.0 M in a colorimetric test based on the formation of a formazan product, and 8.8-3.7 M by estimation of pyruvate. The activity of the drug was enhanced by the addition of fatty-acid-free bovine serum albumin as a carrier protein to the culture medium at an optimal concentration of 5 mg/ml. Increasing amounts of the donor horse serum used for routine maintenance of these cultures, which is normally the only source of myristic acid for these trypanosomes, also affected the toxicity of the drug, in this case increasing the LD50.