Recent successes in culturing intramolluscan larval stages of Schistosoma mansoni have relied on synxenic culture with a cell line (Bge) developed from embryos of a molluscan host Biomphalaria glabrata. To further facilitate progress toward control of schistosomiasis, a system for axenic in vitro culture of the parasite has now been developed. When culture media were preconditioned by Bge cells, sporocysts lived longer in vitro and produced more offspring. Because Bge-derived components could be protecting sporocysts from oxidative stress, axenic sporocysts were cultured at lowered O2 levels. In an hypoxic environment, S. mansoni sporocysts grew well and produced daughter sporocysts continuously under axenic conditions and in a medium completely lacking host molecules. Sporocyst production occurs independently of host influence.

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