April 12, 2010
April 12 - Delia radicum
Maybe you were scared off the pork roast last night after reading about Taenia solium and opted for a veggie stirfry instead. Although there aren't any parasites that specifically use a vegetable as an intermediate host to get into humans, that doesn't mean those broccoli and cauliflower florets didn't face the possibility of being infected with something. One parasite of the Brassica plants (the aforementioned, plus cabbage, brussel sprouts, etc) is the cabbage fly or turnip fly, Delia radicum. Adults, which look a lot like houseflies (see image here), feed on nectar of flowers, but then lay their eggs next to Brassica plants. The larvae feed on the roots and stems of the plants and can greatly harm the plant by weakening it and can also leave the plant vulnerable to secondary infections by fungi or bacteria. Eating infected broccoli won't give you any parasites - just a little extra protein.