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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI:

    Glove decontamination procedures to prevent pathogen and DNA cross-contamination among frogs

    James E. Noelker*, Vitoria Abreu Ruozzi, Hunter M. Craig, Jason P. Sckrabulis, Thomas R. Raffel

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: Working with aquatic organisms often requires handling multiple individuals in a single session, potentially resulting in cross-contamination by live pathogens or DNA. Most researchers address this problem by disposing of gloves between animals. However, this generates excessive waste and may be impractical for processing very slippery animals that might be easier to handle with cotton gloves. We tested methods to decontaminate cotton or nitrile gloves after contamination with cultured Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) or after handling heavily Bd-infected Xenopus laevis with layered cotton and nitrile gloves. Bleach eliminated detectable Bd DNA from culture-contaminated nitrile gloves, but gloves retained detectable Bd DNA following ethanol disinfection. After handling a Bd-infected frog, Bd DNA contamination was greatly reduced by removal of the outer cotton glove, after which either bleach decontamination or ethanol decontamination followed by drying hands with a paper towel lowered Bd DNA below the detection threshold of our assay. These results provide new options to prevent pathogen or DNA cross-contamination, especially when handling slippery aquatic organisms. However, tradeoffs should be considered when selecting an animal handling procedure, such as the potential for cotton gloves to abrade amphibian skin or disrupt skin mucus. Disposing gloves between animals should remain the gold standard for maintaining biosecurity in sensitive situations.