Effect of Trans, Trans-Farnesol on Pseudogymnoascus destructans and Several Closely Related Species


Bat white-nose syndrome, caused by the psychrophilic fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans, has dramatically reduced the populations of many hibernating North American bat species. The search for effective biological control agents targeting P. destructans is of great importance. We report that the sesquiterpene trans, trans-farnesol, which is also a Candida albicans quorum sensing compound, prevented in vitro conidial germination for at least 14 days and inhibited growth of preexisting hyphae of five P. destructans isolates in filtered potato dextrose broth at 10 °C. Depending on the inoculation concentrations, both spore and hyphal inhibition occurred upon exposure to concentrations as low as 15–20 µM trans, trans-farnesol. In contrast, most North American Pseudogymnoascus isolates were more tolerant to the exposure of trans, trans-farnesol. Our results suggest that some Candida isolates may have the potential to inhibit the growth of P. destructans and that the sesquiterpene trans, trans-farnesol has the potential to be utilized as a biological control agent.

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The authors wish to thank Andrea Porres-Alfaro, Dan Lindner, and Barrie Overton for providing isolates used in this study and Elizabeth Bach for technical support. The authors also wish to thank two anonymous reviewers who offered helpful insights to a previous version of this manuscript. This study was funded through awards given by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources State Wildlife Grants Program (Project Number T-78-R-1) and the Section 6 Endangered and Threatened Species Program (Project Number E-54-R-1) to the Illinois Natural History Survey.

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Correspondence to Daniel B. Raudabaugh.

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Raudabaugh, D.B., Miller, A.N. Effect of Trans, Trans-Farnesol on Pseudogymnoascus destructans and Several Closely Related Species. Mycopathologia 180, 325–332 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11046-015-9921-2

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  • Biological control
  • Candida albicans quorum sensing compound
  • Sesquiterpene
  • White-nose syndrome