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The causative agent of White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) in bats is the psychrophilic fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans. Since its discovery in the winter of 2006-2007 there has been a flurry of research to better understand this pathogenic fungus as well as find a treatment to save the bats. There is promise in finding a potential treatment through the use of safe Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). There was potential for the use of 1- octen-3-ol, mushroom alcohol as a treatment for WNS. The first chapter shows the effectiveness of the R and S enantiomers and the racemic form of 1-octen-3-ol (mushroom alcohol) as well as trans-2-hexenal (leaf aldehyde), on mycelial plugs and conidiospores at temperatures of 5, 10 and 15˚C. 1-octen-3-ol was able to inhibit mycelial and conidiospore growth of P. destructans at 0.4 and 0.8 μmol/mL and the R enantiomer of this compound was more effective than the S enantiomer, supporting the finding that biological systems can be sensitive to stereochemistry. trans-2-hexenal was more effective than 1-octen-3-ol and showed fungicidal activity at 0.05 μmol/mL to both conidiospores and mycelia of P. destructans. The second chapter is a transcriptomics study to understand a potential pathway trans-2-hexenal takes in inhibiting P. destructans growth. P. destructans was treated with trans-2-hexenal at sublethal concentrations, and RNA was extracted for Illumina sequencing. It was found that trans-2-hexenal was able to inhibit growth, possibly through downregulating the production of essential genes, like Superoxide Dismutase. Also discovered was the downregulation of known endopeptidase enzyme, Destrucin-2, indicating trans-2-hexenal may also able to reduce virulence while inhibiting growth.
Microbial biology, White-nose syndrome, Volatile organic compounds
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Korn, Victoria Lois, "The Effect of Volatile Organic Compounds on Pseudogymnoascus Destructans the Causative Agent of White Nose Syndrome in Bats" (2019). KIP Articles. 1602.