Symbiotic bacteria may dampen the impacts of infectious diseases on hosts by inhibiting pathogen growth. However, our understanding of the generality of pathogen inhibition by different bacterial taxa across pathogen genotypes and environmental conditions is limited. Bacterial inhibitory properties are of particular interest for the amphibian-killing fungal pathogens (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans), for which probiotic applications as conservation strategies have been proposed. We quantified the inhibition strength of five putatively B. dendrobatidis-inhibitory bacteria isolated from woodland salamander skin against six Batrachochytrium genotypes at two temperatures (12 and 18°C). We selected six genotypes from across the Batrachochytrium phylogeny: B. salamandrivorans, B. dendrobatidis-Brazil and four genotypes of the B. dendrobatidis Global Panzootic Lineage (GPL1: JEL647, JEL404; GPL2: SRS810, JEL423). We performed 96-well plate challenge assays in a full factorial design. We detected a Batrachochytrium genotype by temperature interaction on bacterial inhibition score for all bacteria, indicating that bacteria vary in ability to inhibit Batrachochytrium depending on pathogen genotype and temperature. Acinetobacter rhizosphaerae moderately inhibited B. salamandrivorans at both temperatures (μ = 46-53%), but not any B. dendrobatidis genotypes. Chryseobacterium sp. inhibited three Batrachochytrium genotypes at both temperatures (μ = 5-71%). Pseudomonas sp. strain 1 inhibited all Batrachochytrium genotypes at 12°C and four Batrachochytrium genotypes at 18°C (μ = 5-100%). Pseudomonas sp. strain 2 and Stenotrophomonas sp. moderately to strongly inhibited all six Batrachochytrium genotypes at both temperatures (μ = 57-100%). All bacteria consistently inhibited B. salamandrivorans. Using cluster analysis of inhibition scores, we found that more closely related Batrachochytrium genotypes grouped together, suggesting that bacterial inhibition strength may be predictable based on Batrachochytrium relatedness. We conclude that bacterial inhibition capabilities change among bacterial strains, Batrachochytrium genotypes and temperatures. A comprehensive understanding of bacterial inhibitory function, across pathogen genotypes and temperatures, is needed to better predict the role of bacterial symbionts in amphibian disease ecology. For targeted conservation applications, we recommend using bacterial strains identified as strongly inhibitory as they are most likely to produce broad-spectrum antimicrobial agents at a range of temperatures.
Keywords: Batrachochytrium; antifungal; disease ecology; salamander; symbiont.