Presentation Title

Inhibition of Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the Causative Agent of White-Nose Syndrome, by Environmental Microorganisms

Format of Presentation

Poster to be presented Friday March 31, 2017

Abstract

White-nose syndrome (WNS), a fungal disease that affects hibernating bats, has caused mass mortality in many bat populations since it was first detected in North America in 2006. This disease has both ecological and economic impacts, since bats are relied upon by the agricultural sector for natural pest-control. The fungus that causes WNS, Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd), is believed to be an invasive species in North America. Although biological and chemical agents able to inhibit the growth of Pd have been found, none of these have been put into widespread use, so the search for potential anti-Pd agents continues. Environmental microorganisms are a diverse source of antibiotics and antifungals; therefore, the goal of this project was to isolate bacteria and fungi from various environments and screen these microorganisms for anti-Pd activities. Bacteria and fungi were isolated from plant and mushroom samples collected from the area around Bush Lake, BC. These microorganisms were isolated on Sabouraud Dextrose Agar plates, which were incubated at 25°C for seven days. Additional fungal samples were isolated from dwarf mistletoe plants and a mushroom farm in Summerland, BC. These microorganisms were streaked for pure culture and screened for anti-Pd activity by employing an agar diffusion method. Of the 93 bacterial isolates screened, 30 showed anti-Pd activities. Fungal screening and identification of the positive bacterial candidates via amplicon sequencing is ongoing. Future work with the positive candidates could lead to the production of a novel anti-Pd agent that could be used for treatment and/or prevention of WNS.

Department

Biological Sciences

Faculty Advisor

Naowarat Cheeptham

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Inhibition of Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the Causative Agent of White-Nose Syndrome, by Environmental Microorganisms

White-nose syndrome (WNS), a fungal disease that affects hibernating bats, has caused mass mortality in many bat populations since it was first detected in North America in 2006. This disease has both ecological and economic impacts, since bats are relied upon by the agricultural sector for natural pest-control. The fungus that causes WNS, Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd), is believed to be an invasive species in North America. Although biological and chemical agents able to inhibit the growth of Pd have been found, none of these have been put into widespread use, so the search for potential anti-Pd agents continues. Environmental microorganisms are a diverse source of antibiotics and antifungals; therefore, the goal of this project was to isolate bacteria and fungi from various environments and screen these microorganisms for anti-Pd activities. Bacteria and fungi were isolated from plant and mushroom samples collected from the area around Bush Lake, BC. These microorganisms were isolated on Sabouraud Dextrose Agar plates, which were incubated at 25°C for seven days. Additional fungal samples were isolated from dwarf mistletoe plants and a mushroom farm in Summerland, BC. These microorganisms were streaked for pure culture and screened for anti-Pd activity by employing an agar diffusion method. Of the 93 bacterial isolates screened, 30 showed anti-Pd activities. Fungal screening and identification of the positive bacterial candidates via amplicon sequencing is ongoing. Future work with the positive candidates could lead to the production of a novel anti-Pd agent that could be used for treatment and/or prevention of WNS.