P65 Investigation of volatile-based microbial control for mitigating fungal pathogenicity
Sunday, July 24, 2016
Grand Ballroom, 5th Fl (Sheraton New Orleans)
K.T. Gabriel*, C.T. Cornelison and S.A. Crow Jr., Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA; T. Tomasi, Missouri State University, Springfield, MO; K. Keel, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA
     Pseudogymnoascus destructans, a psychrophilic fungus, has been identified as the etiological agent responsible for a deadly infection among North American bats known as white-nose syndrome (WNS). It is estimated at least 5.7 to 6.7 million bats have died from this disease since its discovery in the United States in 2006. Initial analyses have suggested agricultural impacts from the loss of bats may range from $3.7 to $53 billion per year. Its rapid spread and high mortality has made development of methods for treating and preventing WNS a significant objective for wildlife management agencies.

     Volatile-based microbial inhibition, in a terrestrial environment such as soil, is well-founded, with numerous antimicrobial volatile organic compounds (VOCs) already identified. VOCs are chemicals typically characterized as having low molecular weight, low solubility in water, and high vapor pressure. Consequently, they readily evaporate to the gaseous phase. Inhibitory VOCs are of particular interest as microbial control agents, as low concentrations of gaseous VOCs have demonstrated significant antimicrobial effects. Several VOCs not only demonstrated contact-independent anti-P. destructans activity, but also synergistic activity when combined. It is believed that this contact-independent antagonism may present unique advantages over traditional microbial control methods, particularly where contact-dependent treatment methods are either impractical or impossible.

     Development of anti-P. destructans formulations and an automated dispersal device was undertaken. Efficacy of the device to distribute accurate amounts and ability to facilitate evaporation was established. Additionally, the potential toxicity from one particular formulation was evaluated with torpid bats, with favorable results.