The adenosine triphosphate (ATP) content of the pre-parasitic stages of Nippostrongylus brasiliensis, Haemonchus contortus (L1, L2 and L3) and the adults of the free-living nematode, Panagrellus redivivus, have been measured by bioluminescent photometry in aerated or near-anoxic conditions. The ATP content of the L1 and L2 stages of both parasitic species was unaltered by a lack of oxygen over a 90-min period. However, the L3 stage of both species and the adults of P. redivivus showed a significant fall in the level of ATP within 10 min of near-anoxia. This lower level of ATP was maintained during oxygen lack but the initial content was restored on return of the nematodes to aerobic conditions. The results suggest that measurement of ATP by bioluminescent photometry offers a readily measured and sensitive indicator of the capacity of a nematode to cope with transient changes in oxygen supply without undue metabolic stress.
Zeitschrift für Parasitenkunde 02/1984; 70(5):667-71. DOI:10.1007/BF00926596