Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in hibernating bats, has spread across eastern North America over the past decade and decimated bat populations. The saprotrophic growth of P. destructans may help to perpetuate the white-nose syndrome epidemic, and recent model predictions suggest that sufficiently reducing the environmental growth of P. destructans could help mitigate or prevent white-nose syndrome-associated bat colony collapse. In this study, we screened 301 microbes from diverse environmental samples for their ability to inhibit the growth of P. destructans. We identified 145 antagonistic isolates, 53 of which completely or nearly completely inhibited the growth of P. destructans in co-culture. Further analysis of our best antagonists indicated that these microbes have different modes of action and may have some specificity in inhibiting P. destructans. The results suggest that naturally-occurring microbes and/or their metabolites may be considered further as candidates to ameliorate bat colony collapse due to P. destructans.

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Journal PLoS ONE
Micalizzi, E.W. (Emma W.), Mack, J.N. (Jonathan N.), White, G.P. (George P.), Avis, T, & Smith, M. (2017). Microbial inhibitors of the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the causal agent of white-nose syndrome in bats. PLoS ONE, 12(6). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0179770