DAO prepress abstract  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03203

Systematic approach to isolating Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis

Anthony W. Waddle*, Marlai Sai, Joshua E. Levy, Ghazal Rezaei, Frank van Breukelen, Jef R. Jaeger

*Email: anthony.waddle@unlv.edu

ABSTRACT: We developed a protocol for isolating the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) from anurans. We sampled skin tissues from two common treefrogs, Pseudacris regilla and Pseudacris triseriata, collected from populations with high infection prevalence. We sampled tissues from three anatomical ventral regions (thigh, abdomen, and foot) where the pathogen is thought to concentrate. To mitigate potential bacterial contamination, we used a unique combination of four antibiotics. We quantified infections on frogs as zoospore equivalents (ZE) using a swabbing approach combined with quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. We isolated Bd from 68.9% of frogs sampled from both species. Contamination was low (9.7% of all plates), with most contamination presumed to be fungal. We found positive correlations between successful isolation attempts and infection intensity. Our levels of isolation success were 74% for P. triseriata and 100% for P. regilla once Bd detection intensities reached ≥40 ZE. Of the three anatomical regions sampled in both species, we had significantly more success isolating Bd from foot tissue. Our results support published recommendations to focus sampling for Bd infection on feet, particularly webbing.