Battling a bat killer

November 17, 2010, American Chemical Society

Scientists are looking for answers -- including commercial bathroom disinfectants and over-the-counter fungicides used to fight athlete's foot -- to help in the battle against a strange fungus that threatens bat populations in the United States. That's the topic of an article in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS' weekly newsmagazine.

C&EN Senior Correspondent Stephen K. Ritter notes that despite their poor public image, bats are beneficial. They pollinate plants, spread seeds, and eat vast numbers of insects that otherwise could destroy food crops and carry human diseases.

Ritter describes a fast-spreading fungal disease called white-nose syndrome, named for its effects in discoloring the noses of infected bats.

The has killed more than 1 million hibernating bats in caves and abandoned mines in the U.S. during the past four years, the worst die-off of wildlife in North American history. The fungus damages the bats' wings and causes restless behavior during winter months, making survival unlikely.

The article describes how scientists are struggling to understand the disease while trying to prevent it from spreading and discusses how scientists are seeking possible chemical solutions to eradicate the fungus without damaging the environment or harming healthy .

Explore further: Newly identified fungus implicated in white-nose syndrome in bats

More information: "Battling Bat Fungus" This story is available at pubs.acs.org/cen/science/88/8846sci1.html

Related Stories

Deadly bat disease is spreading west

June 22, 2010

A disease killing more than 1 million with a mortality rate close to 100 percent continues to sweep across the country. First detected in New York in 2006, it is now found in 14 states in the East and South, leaving starvation ...

Scientists unravel the mystery of white-nose syndrome

June 3, 2009

The mysterious disease that has killed more than 90 percent of wintering bats in some caves and mines from Vermont to Virginia during the last three years has raised numerous questions about the nature of the disease and ...

Bats facing regional extinction from rapidly spreading disease

August 5, 2010

A new infectious disease spreading rapidly across the northeastern United States has killed millions of bats and is predicted to cause regional extinction of a once-common bat species, according to the findings of a University ...

Recommended for you

A new polymer raises the bar for lithium-sulfur batteries

January 18, 2018

Lithium-sulfur batteries are promising candidates for replacing common lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles since they are cheaper, weigh less, and can store nearly double the energy for the same mass. However, lithium-sulfur ...

Looking to the sun to create hydrogen fuel

January 18, 2018

When Lawrence Livermore scientist Tadashi Ogitsu leased a hydrogen fuel-cell car in 2017, he knew that his daily commute would change forever. There are no greenhouse gases that come out of the tailpipe, just a bit of water ...

The early bits of life

January 18, 2018

How can life originate before DNA and genes? One possibility is that there are natural processes that lead to the organisation of simple physical objects such as small microcapsules that undergo rudimentary forms of interaction, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.