No more moldy bats!

White-nose syndrome is the fungal disease (you might recall) that’s killing bats. Millions of them. But now, National Geographic is giving us hope that a bacteria might be able to stop white-nose in its tracks:

The treatment is based on a bacterium that inhibits fungal growth, and was originally studied to see if it could slow the ripening of fruits and vegetables. Researchers are in their second year of trials with little brown bats and Northern long-eared bats, and the results look promising, says Sybill Amelon, a wildlife biologist specializing in bats with the U.S. Forest Service in Columbia, Missouri.

Amelon and her team released about 15 treated bats back into the wild on May 19. The treatment helps all but the most heavily infected bats.

If they’re treated early enough, the bacteria can kill off the fungus before it gains a foothold in the animal. But even bats already showing signs of white-nose syndrome show lower levels of the fungus in their wings after being treated.

The treatment is based on a bacterium that inhibits fungal growth, and was originally studied to see if it could slow the ripening of fruits and vegetables. Researchers are in their second year of trials with little brown bats and Northern long-eared bats, and the results look promising, says Sybill Amelon, a wildlife biologist specializing in bats with the U.S. Forest Service in Columbia, Missouri.

Amelon and her team released about 15 treated bats back into the wild on May 19. The treatment helps all but the most heavily infected bats.

If they’re treated early enough, the bacteria can kill off the fungus before it gains a foothold in the animal. But even bats already showing signs of white-nose syndrome show lower levels of the fungus in their wings after being treated.

“I thought if Rhodococcus can prevent molds from growing on bananas, it may be able to stop a mold growing on a bat,” says [Chris] Cornelison [of Georgia State University in Atlanta].

[via vruba]

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply