The reliability of a field test kit for the detection and the persistence of Synergistes jonesii bacteria in the rumens of sheep through winter drought in the Highveld of South Africa without Leucaena in the diet
AbstractThe reliability of a field test kit for the detection and the persistence of Synergistes jonesii bacteria in sheep was investigated in two trials for 12 months. The test kit consisted of a culture medium (Fe2), serum test tubes, disposable syringes and needles, stomach tube, cheesecloth and ferric chloride reagent. The objectives were to test a field kit for practicality and reliability, to assess the spread of the bacteria among sheep flocks within the farm in Phase 1, and to monitor the persistence of the bacteria with and without Leucaena forage in the diet for 5 months in Phase 2. Three sheep flocks (20 young ewes, 30 older ewes and 11 wethers) were screened in Phase 1; and in Phase 2, four wethers were monitored for 19 weeks with and without Leucaena forage in the diet. In Phase 1, wethers tested positive within 6.364 ± 0.48 d, while the ewes took longer (16.5 ± 0.14 d). All flocks were infested with the bacteria even without prior inoculation. In Phase 2, the four wethers on Leucaena diet tested positive within 5.0 ± 0.0 d, but without Leucaena in the diet it took 12.08 ± 0.0, 11.0 ± 4.46, 11.67 ± 5.76, and 6.92 ± 0.0 d, respectively. The bacteria persisted for 5 months without Leucaena in the diet. This confirmed that the field test kit was simple, reliable and fast, and the bacteria are contagious and very persistent.
African Journal of Range & Forage Science 2010, 27(2): 101–104