A University of Florida study suggests papaya seeds could serve as a natural dewormer in livestock. The trial, led by animal scientist Adegbola Adesogan, PhD, tested the material on goats, specifically targeting the barber’s pole worm.
The University of Florida news release notes that development of drug-resistance in parasites has become a significant problem in goats and other small ruminants. The researchers note however, the papaya-seed treatment could have applications in cattle and other livestock species.
In the Florida trial, 10 grams of ground papaya seed added to a base diet of bahiagrass removed 78 percent of adult parasites and 72 percent of their eggs. The next most effective treatment in the test of natural products, a half-and-half mixture of lespedeza and bahiagrass, reduced the adult worm count by 52 percent.
The researchers note that papayas are widely grown and available, especially in developing nations such as in sub-Saharan Africa. Ground papaya seeds potentially could provide do-it-yourself parasite control for farmers who do not have access to manufactured drugs.
“I would say that this is very promising,” Adesogan says, “but we’re still in early days and we need to do more work to develop it and to answer these questions of side effects and withdrawal times and safety.”