New clues to protect frogs from the deadly fungus Comics


As the world continues to battle COVID-19, another pandemic – the deadly fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) – is ravaging the world’s frog species, contributing to instability in Earth’s delicate ecosystem.

Now, a world-first study from the University of South Australia shows that while Bd can significantly reduce captive frogs, captivity may negatively affect the protective skin microbiota of frogs, offering new insight into managing disease. diversity.

By examining the culture-dependent skin microbiota of the eastern common frog, the study analyzed how captivity and water salinity affect Bd infection.

He found that infection was significantly reduced in this population of 24 captive frogs, and although water salinity was not the cause of the decline, a natural process of skin loss could help frogs reduce loads. of Bd.

Globally, Bd infection has caused a decline of 501 amphibian species, 90 of which are now presumed extinct and 124 others have declined by more than 90%. The infection is currently rife in 56 countries on six continents.

Bd infection has been linked to the decline of frogs since the late 1990s, with Bd thought to be the cause of an unusual wave of frog deaths in Australia just a year ago.

UniSA researcher and MSc candidate Darislav Besedin says finding ways to protect frogs from deadly Bd infection is a critical step in conserving global biodiversity.

“The world is currently experiencing a sixth mass extinction, where a high percentage of distinct species – especially amphibians – are going extinct,” Besedin said.

“Yet what most people don’t immediately consider is that each species is interconnected. When one species goes extinct, a range of other species are also affected, creating a domino effect that can have devastating effects on the environment.

“The drastic decline of amphibians over the past decades from deadly Bd infection is a clear sign that there is an ecological imbalance, so it is vital to monitor the species affected.

“This study provides important clues for the management of endangered frog species, the most important being that Bd infection can be eradicated among captive populations. At this point, we assume it has to do with the frogs that shed their skin, but it could also be due to many other factors.

“Our results also show that captivity resulted in a significant reduction in the diversity and richness of skin bacteria, likely due to the loss of a microbial reservoir, high stress, reduced immunity and the desquamation, so future research should take this effect into account.

“Frogs released into the wild after captive programs will likely have reduced resistance to pathogens. More research is needed to promote a healthy microbiome, perhaps even with the help of probiotics.

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