Presentation Title

Antagonism in Caves: The Search for Potential Biological Control Agents against Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the White Nose Syndrome Fungus

Presenter Information

Robyn McArthur

Location

House of Learning Library, 3rd floor

Start Date

18-3-2016 12:00 PM

End Date

18-3-2016 6:00 PM

Abstract

White Nose Syndrome has been spreading throughout North America ever since the first confirmed case in 2006. It is now present in 26 US states and five Canadian provinces and has led to mass mortality in numerous bat species.Bat deaths are caused by Pseudogymnoascus destructans, a fungus that can grow in the cold cave environment. This research aims to find cave bacteria that have an antagonistic relationship with P. destructans, and could potentially be used to prevent infection. It is possible that cave bacteria produce compounds capable of killing P. destructans since antagonistic relationships are common among microorganisms. In this study, spores were harvested from mature cultures of P. destructans that were incubated at 15°C for several weeks and used to create fungal lawns for inhibition assays. Many cave bacteria will be tested for their activity against this fungus. Further characterization and tests may then be done on bacteria showing inhibitory activity, and that have the potential to act as biological control agents. A few metabolites produced by bacteria have recently been found to act against P. destructans but there are still no treatments for infected bats being used on a large scale. This means that the discovery of a novel biological control agent with the ability to prevent or reduce the severity of infection in bats could be used to stop P. destructans from becoming established in new areas.

Department

Biological Sciences

Faculty Advisor

Naowarat Cheeptham

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Mar 18th, 12:00 PM Mar 18th, 6:00 PM

Antagonism in Caves: The Search for Potential Biological Control Agents against Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the White Nose Syndrome Fungus

House of Learning Library, 3rd floor

White Nose Syndrome has been spreading throughout North America ever since the first confirmed case in 2006. It is now present in 26 US states and five Canadian provinces and has led to mass mortality in numerous bat species.Bat deaths are caused by Pseudogymnoascus destructans, a fungus that can grow in the cold cave environment. This research aims to find cave bacteria that have an antagonistic relationship with P. destructans, and could potentially be used to prevent infection. It is possible that cave bacteria produce compounds capable of killing P. destructans since antagonistic relationships are common among microorganisms. In this study, spores were harvested from mature cultures of P. destructans that were incubated at 15°C for several weeks and used to create fungal lawns for inhibition assays. Many cave bacteria will be tested for their activity against this fungus. Further characterization and tests may then be done on bacteria showing inhibitory activity, and that have the potential to act as biological control agents. A few metabolites produced by bacteria have recently been found to act against P. destructans but there are still no treatments for infected bats being used on a large scale. This means that the discovery of a novel biological control agent with the ability to prevent or reduce the severity of infection in bats could be used to stop P. destructans from becoming established in new areas.