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Physiology of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a Chytrid Pathogen of Amphibians

Jeffrey S. Piotrowski, Seanna L. Annis and Joyce E. Longcore
Mycologia
Vol. 96, No. 1 (Jan. - Feb., 2004), pp. 9-15
DOI: 10.2307/3761981
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3761981
Page Count: 7
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Physiology of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a Chytrid Pathogen of Amphibians
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Abstract

Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is a pathogen of amphibians that has been implicated in severe population declines on several continents. We investigated the zoospore activity, physiology and protease production of B. dendrobatidis to help understand the epidemiology of this pathogen. More than 95% of zoospores stopped moving within 24 h and swam less than 2 cm before encysting. Isolates of B. dendrobatidis grew and reproduced at temperatures of 4-25 C and at pH 4-8. Growth was maximal at 17-25 C and at pH 6-7. Exposure of cultures to 30 C for 8 d killed 50% of the replicates. B. dendrobatidis cultures grew on autoclaved snakeskin and 1% keratin agar, but they grew best in tryptone or peptonized milk and did not require additional sugars when grown in tryptone. B. dendrobatidis produced extracellular proteases that degraded casein and gelatin but had no measurable activity against keratin azure. The proteases were active against azocasein at temperatures of 6-37 C and in a pH range of 6-8, with the highest activity at temperatures of 23-30 C and at pH 8. The implications of these observations on disease transmission and development are discussed.

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