Potent Inhibition of Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the Causative Agent of White-Nose Syndrome in Bats, by Cold-Pressed, Terpeneless, Valencia Orange Oil

PLoS One. 2016 Feb 5;11(2):e0148473. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0148473. eCollection 2016.


The causative agent of White-nose Syndrome (WNS), Pseudogymnoascus destructans, has been shown to be fatal to several species of bats in North America. To date, no compounds or chemical control measures have been developed which eliminates the growth of the fungus in the environment or in affected animals. In the current study, we evaluated the activity of cold-pressed, terpeneless orange oil (CPT) against multiple isolates of P. destructans in vitro. For all assays, a modified Kirby-Bauer disk diffusion assay was used. Standardized spore suspensions were prepared, adjusted to a specific optical density, and used to plate fungal lawns. Plates were incubated at either 15°C or 4°C for up to 6 months and checked at regular intervals for growth. Once controls had grown, zones of inhibition were measured (mm) on test plates and compared to those obtained using current antifungal drugs. All P. destructans isolates were completely inhibited by 100% CPT (10 μL) at 1 month of incubation regardless of temperature (4°C and 15°C). Complete inhibition persisted up to 6 months following a single exposure at this concentration. Of the standard antifungals, only amphotericin B demonstrated any activity, resulting in zone diameters ranging from 58 mm to 74 mm. CPT, at the highest concentration tested (100%), had no significant effect against a variety of other environmental organisms including various filamentous fungi, bacteria and aerobic actinomycetes. Given that CPT is relatively non-toxic, the possibility exists that the all-natural, mixture could be used as an environmental pre-treatment to eradicate P. destructans from bat habitats. Additional studies are needed to assess any undesirable effects of CPT on bat behavior and health and overall impacts on other members of the interconnected ecosystem(s).

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antifungal Agents / chemistry
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Ascomycota / drug effects*
  • Ascomycota / physiology*
  • Chiroptera / microbiology*
  • Environment
  • Geography
  • Mycoses / drug therapy
  • Mycoses / veterinary*
  • Plant Oils / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*
  • Plant Oils / therapeutic use
  • Pressure*


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Plant Oils
  • orange oil

Grant support

The authors have no support or funding to report.