Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Bill Chobotar

Abstract

Commonly present in the muscle of animals are the tissue cysts of Toxoplasma and Sarcocystis. The aim of this study was to determine the presence and levels of Toxoplasma/Sarcocystis tissue cysts in retail pork, beef, and mutton throughout the Michiana area. A total of 36 samples from the three species of interest were exposed to a digestive solution mimicking stomach conditions. The solution consisted of 0.75% pepsin, 0.86% NaCl, and HCl adjusted to a pH of 1-2. The digested samples were then strained through several layers of cheesecloth, centrifuged, and examined for the presence of parasites. Toxoplasma/Sarcocystis were detected in all species of meat with an overall prevalence of 55%. Although not ubiquitous in every meat product, improper preparation could leave the consumer at risk of infection.

Subject Area

Toxoplasma., Sarcocystis., Pork--Contamination., Beef--Contamination., Mutton--Contamination.

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