Contaminants of Emerging Concern in WNS Bats

Oral Presentation

Prepared by E. Redman1, A. Secord2, K. Buechler1, C. Carter1
1 - TestAmerica Laboratories Inc., 880 Riverside Parkway, West Sacramento, CA, 95605, United States
2 - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, 3817 Luker Road , Cortland, NY, 13045, United States

Contact Information: [email protected]; 916-374-4342


White nose syndrome (WNS) is a disease affecting hibernating bats which, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has killed more than 5.5 million bats in the Northeastern United States since it was first identified in 2007. The mortality rate in hibernacula affected by WNS is frequently greater than 90%, and bats have been almost completely eliminated from many areas in the Northeast. WNS is named for the white fungus (Geomyces destructans) that appears on the muzzle and other body parts of hibernating bats. Most researchers have now concluded that infection by the fungus is the cause of WNS.

Humans are more susceptible to fungal infections when they are on antibacterial medications. Women are more likely to get vaginal yeast infections when on antibacterials, and hospital patients are more susceptible to respiratory fungal infections when taking strong antibacterial medications. A normal and uncompromised bacterial population is an essential part of a humanís defense against fungal infections. Increased vulnerability towards fungal infection when bacterial populations are compromised could be a general mammalian trait, and exposure to antibacterial compounds in the environment might make bats more susceptible to fungal infections in general and WNS in particular.

This study was conducted in order to measure antibacterial and other contaminants of concern in bats affected by WNS, collected by the US Fish and Wildlife service from multiple locations in the Northeastern US. Contaminants were measured using HPLC coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) and included novel sample preparation techniques to overcome unique challenges associated with bat tissue matrices. Rigorous analyte identification strategies were employed to maximize data utility. Results from the LC/MS/MS analysis of WNS-afflicted bats will be presented.