Nutritional Capability of and Substrate Suitability for Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the Causal Agent of Bat White-Nose Syndrome

Daniel B. Raudabaugh, Andrew N. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the causal agent of bat white-nose syndrome, has caused nearly six million deaths in North American bats since its introduction into the United States in 2006. Current research has shown that caves can harbor P. destructans even after the infected bats are removed and bats no longer visit or inhabit previously infected caves. Our research focuses on elucidating reservoir requirements by investigating the nutritional capabilities of and substrate suitability requirements for six different P. destructans isolates from various localities including Illinois, Indiana, New York (Type specimen), and Pennsylvania. Enzyme assays implicate that both urease and b-glucosidase appear to be constitutive, lipase and esterase activity were more rapid than proteinase activity on 6% gelatin, gelatin degradation was accompanied by medium alkalinization, the reduction of thiosulfate generated hydrogen sulfide gas, chitinase and manganese dependent peroxidase activity were not visually demonstrated within eight weeks, and keratinase activity was not evident at pH 8 within eight weeks. We demonstrate that all P. destructans isolates are capable of growth and sporulation on dead fish, insect, and mushroom tissues. Sole nitrogen source assays demonstrated that all P. destructans isolates exhibit Class 2 nitrogen utilization and that growth-dependent interactions occur among different pH and nitrogen sources. Substrate suitability assays demonstrated that all isolates could grow and sporulate on media ranging from pH 5-11 and tolerated media supplemented with 2000 mg/L of calcium and 700 mg/L of three separated sulfur compounds: thiosulfate L-cysteine, and sulfite. All isolates were intolerant to PEG-induced matric potential with delayed germination and growth at -2.5 MPa with no visible germination at -5 MPa. Interestingly, decreasing the surface tension with Tween 80 permitted germination and growth of P. destructans in -5 MPa PEG medium within 14 days suggesting a link between substrate suitability and aqueous surface tension altering substances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere78300
Pages (from-to)e78300
JournalPloS one
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 21 2013


  • INHS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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