Skin microbes on frogs prevent morbidity and mortality caused by a lethal skin fungus

  • Published source details Harris R.N., Brucker R.M., Walke J.B., Becker M.H., Schwantes C.R., Flaherty D.C., Lam B.A., Woodhams D.C., Briggs C.J., Vredenburg V.T. & Minbiole K.P.C. (2009) Skin microbes on frogs prevent morbidity and mortality caused by a lethal skin fungus. The ISME Journal, 3, 818-824.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use antifungal skin bacteria or peptides to reduce chytridiomycosis infection

Action Link
Amphibian Conservation
  1. Use antifungal skin bacteria or peptides to reduce chytridiomycosis infection

    A randomized, replicated, controlled study in a laboratory in California, USA (Harris et al. 2009) found that adding antifungal bacteria (Janthinobacterium lividum) to the skins of mountain yellow-legged frog Rana muscosa prevented death from chytridiomycosis. Infected frogs treated with the antifungal skin bacteria all survived, gained 33% body mass and had no chytrid zoospores on their skin. In contrast, five of six exposed to chytrid zoospores alone lost weight and died; the sixth had severe chytridiomycosis. Treatment with Janthinobacterium lividum increased colonization by the skin bacteria and did not result in reduced growth or death. There were three treatments each with six frogs: exposure to chytrid zoospores (300 zoospores/15 ml for 24 h); exposure to antifungal skin bacteria (26 x 106 cells/ml for 30 min) and exposure to skin bacteria and 48 hours later chytrid zoospores. There were also 10 untreated control frogs. Before treatments, animals were rinsed in 3% hydrogen peroxide and sterile Provosoli medium to reduce natural skin bacteria. Frogs were weighed and tested for antifungal skin bacteria and chytrid before and every two weeks after treatment until day 139.


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