Rescue bid to save frogs from fungus

Skin bacterium may help frogs affected with fungus

source: Linda Geddes
New Scientist vol 202 no 2711, June 6 2009 p14

A type of chytrid fungus called Bd may respond to a skin bacterium found naturally in some species of amphibians. The disease has spread rapidly, with the Philippines as the latest infected area. Reid Harris and team from James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia, has discovered that infected frogs retained better weight of they were protected by a bacterium called Janthineobacterium lividum. They have also discovered that the bacterium can prevent deaths in infected frogs. They first coated 12 mountain yellow-legged frogs in J. lividum through bathing them, then infected six uncoated frogs with Bd, and six of the twelve coated frogs. After 20 weeks, all of the six coated frogs had survived, with some showing weight gains. Five of the six uncoated frogs had died. The J. lividum bacteria produce violacein, an antibiotic. The teams plans further research, with a long term goal of attempting to protect wild frogs through treating soil, water and animals themselves.