White-nose syndrome is a fungal disease that has decimated bat populations across eastern North America. Identification of the etiologic agent, Pseudogymnoascus destructans (formerly Geomyces destructans), in environmental samples is essential to proposed management plans. A major challenge is the presence of closely related species, which are ubiquitous in many soils and cave sediments and often present in high abundance. We present a dual-probe real-time quantitative PCR assay capable of detecting and differentiating P. destructans from closely related fungi in environmental samples from North America. The assay, based on a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) specific to P. destructans, is capable of rapid low-level detection from various sampling media, including sediment, fecal samples, wing biopsy specimens, and skin swabs. This method is a highly sensitive, high-throughput method for identifying P. destructans, other Pseudogymnoascus spp., and Geomyces spp. in the environment, providing a fundamental component of research and risk assessment for addressing this disease, as well as other ecological and mycological work on related fungi.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology