FLOTAC technique uses dual-chamber centrifugation to detect parasitic eggs and cysts

Oct. 29, 2014

A new method for identifying common parasitic eggs has recently surfaced. The FLOTAC technique uses a dual-chamber centrifugation system that detects parasitic eggs and cysts in the fecal matter of humans and animals. If medication is prescribed as a treatment, FLOTAC is also able to measure the effectiveness of the drug on the parasite.

Recently, two studies were published testing the efficacy of the FLOTAC method in The Journal of Parasitology. In the article “Experimental Estimation of the Efficacy of the FLOTAC Basic Technique,” the authors set out to test the FLOTAC technique and theory on its accuracy, precision, recovery, sensitivity, and limits of detection and quantification. Using naturally occurring parasites in dogs and pigs, the authors found many discrepancies with the original theory behind FLOTAC in terms of projected percentages. Still, the use of the dual-chamber method led the authors to conclude that FLOTAC was the most effective quantitative method for the eggs of parasitic worms.

While in agreement with this finding, the second study, “Validation of FLOTAC for the Detection and Quantification of Troglodytella Abrassarti and Neobalantidium Coli in Chimpanzees and Pigs,” examined a wider array of parasites. It reported that the FLOTAC method was not optimal in detecting the cysts of protozoan parasites which normally inhabit the large intestine. The authors found that another method, merthiolate-iodine-formaldehyde sedimentation (a semi-quantitative scoring of the intensity of the infection), was a more effective method of detection. These authors concluded that although FLOTAC is not the “gold standard” method, it is nonetheless effective.

Overall, the FLOTAC method is gaining popularity due to its ease of use in detecting selected parasites. However, as these two articles point out, the particular parasites being looked for will determine what method is applied. Read the abstract of the second study.

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