Controlling wildlife fungal disease spread: in vitro efficacy of disinfectants against Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and Mucor amphibiorum.
ABSTRACT Chytridiomycosis in amphibians, and mucormycosis in the platypus Ornithorhynchus anatinus and amphibians, are serious fungal diseases affecting these aquatic taxa. In Tasmania, Australia, the fungi that cause these diseases overlap in range along with Phytophthora cinnamomi (Pc), an invasive fungal plant pathogen. To identify disinfectants that may be useful to reduce anthropogenic spread of these fungi to uninfected wilderness areas, for example by bush walkers and forestry or fire-fighting operations, we tested 3 disinfectants and a fire-fighting foam against Mucor amphibiorum (Ma) and tested 1 disinfectant and the foam against Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Combining the present study with previous work we found Bd was more susceptible to all 4 chemicals than Ma. Phytoclean, a disinfectant used at 2 to 10% for 30 s to control Pc, killed cultures of Bd at 0.075% and Ma at 5%, when also applied for 30 s. The disinfectant F10sc was not effective against Ma at standard exposures, but previous work shows Bd is killed at 0.03% with a 1 min exposure. Path-X is effective against Bd at 0.001% with a 30 s exposure and killed Ma at 1% with a 5 min exposure. Forexpan S, a foam added to water at 0.1 to 1% to control forest fires, killed Bd but not Ma when used at 1% for 2 min. Therefore, Phytoclean and Path-X have broader efficacy, although Path-X has not been trialled against Pc. Interestingly a positive mating strain of Ma (from a platypus) was more resistant to disinfectants than a negative strain (from a frog). Current protocols against Pc that involve high concentrations (10%) of Phytoclean are likely to reduce spread of pathogenic wildlife fungi, which is important for protecting biodiversity.