BioWorma, an innovative biological control product for parasitic nematodes (roundworms) developed by an animal health company in western Sydney, has finally been registered for use in Australia.
Blacktown-based International Animal Health Products (IAHP) hopes BioWorma will be registered for release in NZ by next week followed by the United States by the end of April.
IAHP director, Chris Lawlor, said the product could be ready to hit the Australia market in about two months.
An application for the registration of BioWorma was first lodged with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority in April, 2016.
The product is based on a strain of Duddingtonia flagrans, a fungus that occurs naturally in the environment and is found all over the world.
The CSIRO identified strains of Duddingtonia flagrans as having potential for biological parasite control in the early 1990s.
IAHP collaborated with the CSIRO in 1997 and took charge of the commercialisation of the project in 2004.
Twenty years later and IAHP is now geared up to manufacture and market the Duddingtonia flagrans (Df) product in Australia, NZ, the US and, eventually, Europe.
The Duddingtonia flagrans (Df) spores are fed to grazing animals in feed supplements and have no effect on internal parasites within the animal.
They pass onto pastures in the manure where they trap and eat the larvae of the major parasitic worms in sheep, cattle, goats and horses.
Mr Lawlor said the fungus was particularly effective against barber’s pole worm (Haemonchus), commercially the most important roundworm globally, along with brown stomach worm (Teladosagia), black scour worm (Trichlostrongulus), intestinal worm (Cooperia spp) and thread necked worm (Nematodirus).
Back in November he told The Land some farmers may initially baulk at having to feed Duddingtonia flagrans in daily supplements but once they saw a marked reduction in worm burdens along with reduced frequency of chemical worming he was confident they would be hooked.
Mr Lawlor said Df would be available in two forms – one to feed mills and veterinarians in a concentrated form and the other as an over-the-counter product, via produce stores.
Mr Lawlor said the biological wormer would be a game changer in the battle to overcome increasing resistance to chemical drenches.
He said before using the Df product the animals should be treated with an effective chemical drench and moved onto pastures which hadn’t been grazed by the same animal species for a minimum of six weeks.
They would then be fed daily rations containing Df to cut the number of infective worm larvae which would help slow chemical resistance and reduce the number of chemical drenches.
“Globally, the losses from parasites would be a billion dollars or more…so I didn’t want to see this get developed overseas and then see Australian farmers having to buy it back,” Mr Lawlor said of his decision to take forward the product to commercialisation in 2004.
The next two decades involved 19 trials and three different safety studies, testing for everything from environmental effects, toxicology and residues through to the simple questions of how to harvest tonnes of Duddingtonia flagrans spores.