Biotic and Abiotic Factors Influencing the Environmental Persistence and Growth of Pseudogymnoascus destructans

Daniel Raudabaugh, Andrew N. Miller

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review


Several important aspects of Pseudogymnoascus destructans including its genomic sequence, phylogenetic relationships, geographic distribution and temperature-dependent growth have been intensively studied, but little is known about the basic biology and ecology of this pathogen. In an attempt to understand how this fungus responds to the physical, chemical and nutritional limitations of the cave environment, numerous in vitro assays were conducted on P. destructans cultures from different geographical localities. Pseudogymnoascus destructans can utilize the majority of cave nitrogen sources and complex carbon containing substrates, tolerates elevated levels of inhibitory sulfur compounds and calcium, can grow and sporulate over a wide pH range (alkali-tolerant) and demonstrates sensitivity to water availability. In addition, preliminary results indicate that P. destructans has environmentally-induced phenotypic plasticity and that infection may be altered by the presence of host-associated microbiota. These results suggest that P. destructans can persist as a saprophyte on cellulosic, chitinaceous, keratinaceous and lipid/protein rich substrates. Substrates containing water surface tension reducing agents (free fatty acids) are beneficial to the growth of P. destructans due to its sensitivity to water availability. Substrate chemistry and host-associated microbiota may play important roles related to the infection process and distribution of P. destructans.
Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2014


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