Interesting new development: Microbial controls might help curtail population losses of bats in North America caused by white-nose syndrome.
We’re looking to microbes and the naturally-occurring anti-fungal volatile organic compounds (VOCs) they produce as potential biological control agents of WNS. Here’s the idea: these bacteria and fungi co-evolved in their soil habitat, interacting and competing for resources and space. In this evolutionary jostling for supremacy, microorganisms develop traits that increase the fitness of one by exploiting a “weakness” in its competitor. Our goal is to harness these natural antagonisms – interactions in which one community member (bacteria) exerts a negative effect on another (fungus) but may not necessarily kill it – in the fight against WNS.